I’m reading — slowly but steadily — the nearly 1000 page report just issued by the Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate.
I’m pleased to say that while I lacked the granular details, part two (The Fakes of Life) of my book, How I Learned The Facts of Life, has a succinct summary of what happened when the Russians hacked into the DNC and the Clinton campaign.
In my read of the current report, I’m picking up a bunch of Russian social media personas (essentially fake names they created for social media accounts which spread misinformation) which I didn’t know about. The names amuse me, since they’re Russian notions of good old American-sounding names. “Alice Donovan,” for instance.
Of course those 2016 names won’t be making a return appearance for this 2020 election. There will be newbies.
But I’d assume the earlier Russian method will be a model for the 2020 attack. As an exemplar, let me introduce you to one persona, “Angee Dixson.” Here’s how “Angee” did her stuff:
…[L]et’s get immediately to the activities of an actual bot named “Angee Dixson.” I do understand “her,” thanks to the investigative journalists at ProPublica.
“Angee” first showed up on Twitter in vivid defense of Trump’s incendiary comments after white supremacists marched on Charlottesville in August 2017. There was “Angee,” weighing in with vivid offense against Black Lives Matter and what she called “antifa violence.”
She proclaimed she was an American and a Christian conservative. She captioned a picture of masked demonstrators as “DEMOCRAT TERROR.”
“Angee” has disappeared from Twitter. She was a fake, a bot, according to the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council think tank, as reported by ProPublica.
“Angee”’s glam photo was ripped from an Instagram pic of a young celebrity. “Angee”’s wranglers used a computer program that madly churns out posts the authorship of which are frequently disguised. “Angee”’s tweet language parroted tweets from Russian “news” outlets.
If there is a bot cemetery in the cloud, up there lies “Angee Dixson.” Temporarily. She’s a vampire so I bet she’ll be back under other names, which I trust I’ll smell out as I would have “Angee Dixson.” The construction and spelling of both names don’t feel exactly American, do they?
I expect the Russians’ name inventions will get better — better, in the sense of sounding more realistically American.