October 14, 2019

Sebastian Gorka, Nazi sympathizer and Trump toady, admonished those attending the misnamed "Values Voter Summit" last Friday to stand tall for Donald Trump on social media.

“I don’t care how old you are, I don’t care how technically-challenged you deem yourself to be,” Gorka told the group of grannies and Ralph Reed groupies. “If you are not on social media every single day supporting the president, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution … You owe it to Donald J. Trump to be there for him.”

Not voting, not door-knocking, not organizing. Being on social media. At this point, one might assume that social media is not the battleground that will get Trump elected. Does Gorka really think all these values driven churchy types are going to rush to Twitter to stand for Trump?

Probably not, but it does leave some cover for what's really going to happen.

At least one observant Twitter user has been watching Donald Trump's account activity. He recently noticed that Trump added 2.7 million new followers in one month, most of whom were fake accounts. And in the thread below, he noted that a swarm formed and dissipated in record time around the hashtag #ExposeCNN. It seems clear there is some positioning to game Twitter and other social media accounts as the election (and impeachment) heats up.

Click the tweet to read the entire thread, but the punch line is this: After adding millions of fake account followers to Trump's Twitter account, there was a test drive on Sunday, two days after Gorka's "call to action." It was an attack on CNN, and you can see the swarm rise and wane in real time.

Expect more of this. Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, isn't someone who thinks traditional campaign tactics are necessary as long as the digital game is strong. And I *do* mean game. In addition to the bots and trolls on Twitter, conservatives have lobbied Facebook and worked the refs hard enough that Trump and other similarly dishonest campains are empowered to buy and circulate Facebook ads which contain lies. According to Facebook, they have no obligation to fact-check ads from politicians. But don't you dare say anything bad about conservatives on your individual Facebook account. You'll be banned and tossed, posthaste.

Gorka's speech won't inspire a bunch of church ladies to tweet. But it will give cover to the plan to deploy bots and trolls. Because Twitter considers that a feature of their platform and not a bug, we can all expect armies of message-mongers to battle for control now and in the forseeable future.

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