If you're wondering whether some good percentage of the too-stupid-to-be-real Twitter accounts demanding America end shelter-in-place orders despite a still-raging pandemic are, in fact, too stupid to be real, the answer appears to be yes. A new Carnegie Mellon University study estimates that about one-half of the Twitter accounts pushing that demand and COVID-19 conspiracies in general are bots. They're fake.
America's dumbest people are being goaded into gun-toting protests against pandemic precautions by robot-wielding trolls. Of course they are. It’s 2020 and the president of the country is a can of expired creamed corn, so why wouldn’t there also be near-riots in state capitols spurred by fake internet accounts?
As summarized by CBS News, researchers found that "82% of the top 50 influential retweets are bots, and 62% of the top 1,000 retweeters" are fake, and that the fakes "have largely dominated" re-opening demands.
What researchers don't currently know—though perhaps government intelligence agencies might, even if they're not telling us so—is who is doing it. It's consistent with a foreign attempt to, well, get Americans killed in large numbers. It could also be random collections of idiots, trolls, or Trump's famous bedridden, 400-pound Guy Who Does These Things.
In any event, what we're seeing is an organized and very large-scale effort to get Americans to spread the pandemic inside this country, even as other parts of the world begin to see success in reducing pandemic spread. Not being a legal expert, I can't pin down which particular degree of attempted homicide this would equate to. Not being an international law expert, I can offer no solid opinion on whether, if organized in large part by a foreign power, attempting to kill off civilians by the hundreds of thousands might be considered an act of war.
It might be an intentional effort to single out and cull all the stupidest people in America in one fell swoop—like most propaganda and conspiracy efforts, it seems rather specifically targeted toward dumb people—but given the propensity of the virus to leap to nearby smarter people once it has a foothold inside the lungs of a dumb one, it'd be a bad plan. It would be nice to believe that this was entirely a foreign effort simply because one would think even the most malevolent of this nation's own chan-minded trolls would quickly realize the downside of convincing their own dumbest neighbors to go out and court a deadly infection. Maybe.
What we can take from this, however, is that the supposed (online) push to reopen the American economy no matter who it kills is almost entirely a propaganda effort, with an organized core of self-amplifying, likely professionally run bots convincing approximately one (1) American each to repeat their nonsense while polls show the vast majority of the country is quite content to help their neighbors Not Die. As Fox News shows, you can convince a certain percentage of America to believe literally anything, if you repeat it enough times.
Also, a large percentage of the anything-believers own guns. Lots of guns. Really like guns, for some reason. Is there a connection between people willing to believe anything a random internet account tells them and people who believe there may be a pressing need to murder people around them for patriotic and/or self-protecting reasons? Hard to say, right?
Posted with permission from Daily Kos.