God I love it when the snake eats its tail! Like it’s not bad enough that Putin has made himself and Russia international pariahs by his invasion of the Ukraine, because he’s a narcissistic egomaniac like Trump, he just doesn’t know when to quit. And as a result, he pisses everybody else off.
Look, forget the fact that Putin’s cheesedick army is getting its ass kicked in Ukraine. That may well turn out to be the least of his worries. Because, for the first time in his life, Putin is getting his ass kicked in the misinformation/disinformation war. Putin started this war with his standard propaganda bullshit. Ukraine was the aggressor, the Russian troops were in a purely defensive posture, and protecting the two Russian backed breakaway republics.
But goddammit, social media kept showing Ukrainian footage of Russian bombs, missiles, and rockets hitting kindergarten classes and hospitals. Putin went to the mattresses, putting a nipple clamp on all remaining independent radio, television, and newspaper outlets, most of whom shut down rather than become puppets of the state propaganda network.
So, here’s where even a Russian insaniac like Putin can find something in common with old GOP politicians like Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and Chuck Grassley. He just doesn’t get the internet or social media. He just doesn’t get the intricacy of the internet, or just how many various back roads and channels there are for things to get through. Even with Russian restrictions, Ukrainian social media posts of Russian atrocities kept flooding through to local Russian posting boards.
And so Putin did what any post Soviet era brontosaurus would do. He ordered Facebook and Twitter shut down in Russia. Which is the worst thing he could do, since younger Russians are as addicted to social media as Americans, but also because the majority of the negative flow was coming through on other platforms. But Putin doesn’t know them, he only knows Facebook and Twitter.
Big mistake. After all, nobody takes a poke at Mark Fuckerberg without him punching back. He is the Zeus of social media! And Twitter didn’t take the personal insult too well either. And as a result, they’re striking back.
Over the last 48 hours Facebook has grounded more than 10,000 accounts from Russian troll farms and allied groups, and are aggressively searching for more. And Twitter has bounced more accounts that I can keep track of on a Casio calculator for the same reason. Look at that! It turns out that these flaming assholes always knew where to find these maggots, they just needed a reason to drop the bomb on them.
The social media platforms are actually serious about this shit, and for a good reason. Polling wise, they’re about as popular as genital warts, and sinking fast. Even congress is looking at reining them in. Now, they can wrap themselves with the flag of nationalism, and fairness. Now they’re all the Wyatt Earp’s protecting their people from the evils of misinformation!
These guys are finally going to clean house, because they have no choice. After all, would you want to go toe-to-toe with Ukrainian President Zelensky? They are going to scour their platforms for Russian disinformation, and get it out of there. After all, it might score brownie points with congress.
Which is terrible news for Q-Anon! Because the vast majority of their anti democratic conspiracy theories are at least partly due to the rampaging success of Russian disinformation spread from Russian troll farms. If the social media platforms cut off their shit, Q-Anon will be left to its own devices. What comes next? Biden secretly drove Mary Jo Kopechne off the bridge at Chappaquiddick?
And it’s a disaster for outlets like FUX News, Newsmax, and Infowars because a good portion of their filler comes from algorithm searches of what Russian troll farm bullshit takes off on Facebook and Twitter, and rising to the top of the search engines. If the social media platforms shut off the Russian troll farm bullshit, what do the far right media outlets find to talk about? Cute kittens with unspooled balls of yarn?
Personally, I love the concept of concentric circles, rings within rings. Putin does something really stupid in Russia, and it ends up starting a backlash that causes social media itself to stop posting bullshit Russian propaganda. Which hurls the far right American propaganda media into an existential crisis. Sometimes life is good.