Something else I had never heard of at all, and I don’t spend much time on Twitter, certainly not enough to be aware of AppSame, which has an influential twitter account (1.1 million followers). Of course, this leads to the same old question: why is Twitter ignoring this? They certainly have a way of turning their heads to obviously fake bullshit and abuse when it’s convenient for them.
Despite what its wildly misleading name might suggest, AppSame is not an application. Based on the biographical details its social media accounts provide, AppSame is “a conservative political marketing firm helping America back to its greatness.” While publicly available information does not clarify what exactly, if anything, this firm does to help MAGA, its impressive Twitter presence (1.1 million followers as of this writing) invites some questions — about its tactics, its actual impact, its role in the spread of fake news purveyor-generated misinformation into influential right-wing Twitter networks, and whether its influence could become a case study in the way Twitter enables unknown entities to have a disproportionate impact in politics.
Both its massive following and its clout among right-wing Twitter hubs like #TCOT (an acronym that stands for “top conservatives on Twitter”) earned AppSame the top spot in Brandwatch’s 10 most influential Republicans on Twitter rankings in 2016. AppSame’s Twitter behavior is practically indistinguishable from that of hard-core supporters of President Donald Trump: The account frequently retweets the president and his family (once earning a magnanimous mention from Trump) as well as memes featuring right-wing narratives, churning out more than a hundred tweets or retweets per day. But despite its impressive following, AppSame’s original tweets barely register any viral attention, which might be evidence of a heavy fake account presence among its followers. A Twitter audit report confirmed as much in 2015, finding that 45 percent of @AppSame’s followers are suspected fake accounts.
@AppSame’s social media habits also include disseminating fake news and conspiracy theories into right-wing Twitter networks. On Twitter, @AppSame has shared links to fake news purveyors like TruthFeed and True Pundit, and its tweets have on occasion been featured in items written by fake news purveyors. Inmultipletweets, AppSame either suggested or explicitly claimed that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
Cristina López & Natalie Martinez at Media Matters have the full investigative story.
Marcus Ranum says
I’m so sad that everyone doesn’t immediately ignore this kind of thing as the spam that it is. For that matter, facebook and twitter, etc, shouldn’t even exist -- nobody should take any of the content that they make $bn selling should be taken seriously.
Maybe someday philosophers will call this the epistemological crisis of the early 21st century: when marketing obliterated the new media in an attempt to parasitize it, leading to a post-modernist backlash in which everyone decided their vocabularies had been co-opted and nobody listened to anyone anymore for decades.