Which twin likes junk news the best?

Twitter bot purge shock:

(It’s fun writing headlines that would have been gibberish 10 or 15 years ago.)

The hashtag #TwitterLockout has trended after an apparent purge of suspected malicious bots on the social network.

Dozens of users report having had their accounts suspended until they provided a telephone number which they then had to verify, to prove they were real.

Some members have raised concerns about their amount of lost followers, and claimed discrimination against right-wing political beliefs.

Is it the right-wing aspect or the deranged aspect? To put it another way, when so much right-wing pro-Trump discourse is batshit crazy and sounds like trolling whether it’s out of Russia or not, how can one tell whether it’s a bot or just some batshit crazy frothing Trump fan? How, I ask, how?

One researcher who has studied digital disinformation campaigns said a Twitter crackdown should come as no surprise.

“This is a company that’s under a lot of heat to clean up its act in terms of how its platform has been exploited to spread misinformation and junk news,” said Samantha Bradshaw from the University of Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project.

“It now needs to rebuild trust with users and legislators to show it is trying to take action against these threats against democracy.”

She too notes the overlap between Trump fans and troll-like bullshittery.

Ms Bradshaw suggested that any appearance of Twitter’s partisanship might be better explained by the different news sources that left and right-wingers prefer.

“Our work indicates a lot of the more conservative Americans were consuming more junk news,” she explained.

“Filter bubbles and echo chambers are more dominant on the right compared to on the left.

“So, I don’t necessarily think it’s an attack on the right, it’s just a reflection about the different ways different kinds of people consume information.”

Especially in the case of the pro-Trump right. Plenty of conservatives detest Trump – Richard Painter, David Frum, Bill Kristol to name just three – while remaining conservatives. Admiring and endorsing Trump is not consistent with being rational and informed.

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