I feel like lying is the GOP’s hobby of choice, only slightly behind telling Black people that we are the real racists. Turning Point Action, a spinoff of Turning Point USA, enjoys lying so much they paid a group of teenagers to do it for them on social media.
CNN reports both Facebook and Twitter have deactivated accounts linked to a social media campaign led by Turning Point Action. The campaign was essentially a troll farm but instead of bots, they paid teenagers to use their real accounts without disclosing they were working with TPA. A report by the Washington Post found the operation had thousands of identical posts, all sharing false or misleading information. Some of the posts said that coronavirus numbers were being inflated and warned “Don’t trust Dr. Fauci.” One of the accounts left a comment on Facebook saying that mail-in ballots “will lead to fraud for this election.”
“It sounds like the Russians, but instead coming from Americans,” is how Jacob Ratkiewicz, a software engineer at Google, described the operation to the Post.
Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Facebook, told CNN that accounts connected to TPA’s campaign had been deactivated for violating the platform’s policy on having multiple accounts. A spokesperson for Twitter has said that they removed some of the accounts for violating their rules on manipulation and spam. Both platforms have said they will continue to monitor accounts connected to Turning Point’s campaign.
Austin Smith, field director of Turning Point Action, told the Post in a statement, “like everyone else, Turning Point Action’s plans for nationwide in-person events and activities were completely disrupted by the pandemic.”
“Many positions TPA had planned for in field work were going to be completely cut, but TPA managed to reimagine these roles and working with our marketing partners, transitioned some to a virtual and online activist model,” he said.
That…doesn’t explain all the lies and spam though. Which, you know, is one of the major reasons their campaign is now being gutted.
Both Facebook and Twitter announced efforts to combat misinformation during this election year. Last month, Twitter shut down a group of accounts pretending to be Black people sharing pro-Trump rhetoric. Facebook also made a similar move, removing accounts from Romania that also pretended to be Black people for Trump.