Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Terrible story about blue check Twitter being used to falsely identify and harass a random person as an undercover federal agent

Vice (we have got to develop adequate ways to sue people for harassment like this):

One day earlier, over 850 miles away from where [the 22-year-old] lives, two far-right groups got into a scrum at an Oregon City pride festival. During the hubbub two neo-Nazis with the Rose City Nationalists had their masks pulled off and their faces exposed. The men’s faces were caught on video and internet sleuths quickly went to work. At some point, someone found a photo of [the 22-year-old] that looked similar to the man in the video and posted it as fact.


After his name appeared, the online right found a small blurb written about him on Instagram by his Jewish fraternity which said he wanted to possibly work for the government one day. This was enough to confirm one of the right’s favorite conspiracy theories: neo-Nazis are federal plants that are there to make them look racist. 


Almost immediately after [the 22-year-old]’s name and information were shared and it didn't take long for the usual suspects to amplify the conspiracy to their millions of followers. Twitter owner Elon Musk replied to multiple instances of false information about [the 22-year-old] being shared on his platform, boosting it to his over 147 million followers. In one case he responded directly to an article from ... a site well known for its far-right leanings and conspiratorial content.