“Fuck you…. WAR!”
—Andrew Breitbart, from the upcoming film, “Hating Breitbart”
Andrew Breitbart understood it. We here at The Trenches believe we understand it. And it’s slowly becoming clear that many others within the world of online conservative activism understand it, as well.
This is a war we’re in, a war for everything. And, for whatever reason, the medium of Twitter and similar social media have become some of the most active battlefields out there. Sock puppet accounts, trolls, coordinated block and report attacks, these are the weapons of this war on Twitter. We’ll do a quick review of each of these ideas, and how they’ve been applied to our battlefield of political activism on Twitter.
As things have gotten progressively weirder of late, it seems like the sock puppet accounts have come out of the woodwork for all sides involved. For those unfamiliar with the term, a “sock puppet”, for the medium of social media, is a fake account ran by one or more people for whatever reason. Much of the time, sock puppets are applied for intel gathering, if you will, while other times their intent seems to be to sow disinformation and discontent among their intended targets. SEE: ConservativeRay in the linked article above.
On a more macro level, sock puppets are often also used for the idea of “persona management”, a relatively new term which describes the use of fake social media accounts to attempt to influence a specific narrative. Here at The Trenches, one of the instances of mass sock puppetry and persona management we’ve covered was the #StopRush crew. In that instance, Matt Edelstein (@shoq) and friends had a bevy of fake accounts to deluge corporate sponsors of Rush Limbaugh, and essentially used those fake accounts to create the IMPRESSION of a mass of angry people upset with Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke.
Hell, people have thought I’M a sock puppet for The Trenches’ founder Brooks Bayne, which shows that this idea is well embedded in our enemies minds. And it should be well embedded in our minds too, especially of late, that the new account who just started following us could possibly be a sock puppet for leftist idiots, or, unfortunately, for one of the many groups within conservative online activism circles.
It’s an unfortunate reality, but really, the only defense against sock puppets is to just be questioning and suspicious of any new account that seems to be just a little too good to be true. Remember, a good portion of the weaponry on our battlefield is aimed at psychological games and deception.
Shorter me: Trust no one, until you can verify.
The defense against trolls is easy. You know it as well as I do:
If you buy into their stupid games, trolls can make your life a living hell. Pick a fight with an atheist on Twitter, and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve literally had 4-5 hour running battles with atheists after an offhanded remark to one, or, in one instance, a question to one of their “darlings”, Jessica Ahlquist. (If you ever feel the need to try and interact with the atheist teen sensation, just know people watch that girl’s account and it’s unlikely you’ll ever get a response from her, but more likely her army of followers and supporters.)
But I digress.
Trolling, to some people, is an artform, meant to inflict actual pain and suffering on those they choose to target. In the video below, an idea called “dark socratic trolling” is discussed. For all intents and purposes, this guy’s idea is to CONFIRM people’s fears and ideas regarding whatever topic, with the hope being the target(s) become so distraught they’ll actually act on their fear.
And I do have confirmation that this is/was a technique being employed by leftist operatives as far back as 2008, which coincides with when the video below was produced. Just let that sink in for a bit.
But now, I give you, Dark Socrates:
Pretty chilling stuff. And again, I thought us conservatives are supposed to be the hateful ones.
Block and Report Attacks
If you’ve been following us here at The Trenches, you’ll hopefully have read the work we’ve done on what we’ve termed as “block and report attacks”, which send people to the now infamous #TwitterGulag. In short, people figured out that the algorithms that trigger account suspensions, especially for spam, can be fooled.
If you haven’t read any of our #TwitterGulag reports, they are as follows:
As you can tell, SemperBanU has much more technical expertise than this foolish reporter. Regardless, this is an exploit that’s been used maliciously for quite some time now in an attempt to silence conservative speech on Twitter. The defense against it is still up in the air.
As I wrote about in the first article, perhaps one of our best counterattacks to B/R attacks would be to start doing it ourselves. There’s a fair amount of evidence that shows an extreme liberal tilt in the Twitter higher-ups, which might explain their reluctance to address conservatives being targeted and suspended without much ado from said higher-ups. Now, as stated in that earlier piece, if a bunch of butthurt #p2 types start complaining of having their accounts suspended on a daily basis, then Twitter might actually get off their asses and fix this exploit.
The other defense is to be very ninja-like, or as my friend @JustAnotherMo likes to say, “bob and weave”. Vary the rates at which you tweet, don’t reply to unsolicited @’s, DEFINITELY don’t respond to an @ that suddenly has a couple of extra names in it, and so on. Newer accounts with disproportionate following/follower counts are the most vulnerable, but even then, as in the case of a certain well-known husband, the numbers didn’t seem to matter and he ended up in #TwitterGulag anyways.
If you partake in political activism on Twitter, you are very much taking part in information warfare and/or cyber warfare to some extent or another. There are obviously many from the left who have taken to this idea in a very serious way, and it’s about time we on the right do the same. Whether it’s through developing our own offensive strategy, or perfecting our defenses, these idiots on the left need a good SMACK in the mouth 24/7. Decide what you can handle if you really want to join this fray, and act accordingly.