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☕️ LIMITATIONS ☙ Monday, July 3, 2023 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
A deep-dive into deep-state manipulation, DNC bots, mind control, and Twitter's annoying new policy requiring a user account to view tweets.
Good morning, C&C, and Happy Monday! Today’s roundup is a little different. First, since I’m planning a special Independence Day edition tomorrow (and will be taking Wednesday off), I’d already planned a short post this morning. But then, many commenters have asked me to look into why Twitter is suddenly requiring users to create an account to view the links.
The answer to that question uncovered a much bigger story, a world-shaking story, with lots of dots to connect. So today, we’re looking at Twitter’s invisible war with the deep state.
🗞💬 *WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 💬🗞
🔥 A quiet revolution is underway at Twitter; a revolution much more significant and much more real than the so-called Wagner uprising, and for much higher stakes. Over the last week, we’ve felt the side effects, such as Twitter’s annoying, brand-new requirement to have an account to view tweets. It took me a few days to put the pieces together, because these days nothing is ever as it seems.
Let’s start by looking at a recent example of a growing social media problem, an insidious problem that badly fooled me two days ago.
On Friday, in a mini-roundup on the Supreme Court’s explosive decision to end affirmative action, I included a goofy tweet by a blonde, former Obama staffer named Erica Marsh. Erica stupidly said “No black person will be able to succeed in a merit-based system,” and I took the bait to use her tweet as a perfect example of the white liberal mindset on affirmative action.
Now, I didn’t just tumble off the latest turnip delivery drone. To be sure Erica was real, as I have learned to do, I checked chatty Erica’s extensive account history seeing that she had lots of tweets over time, noting she had over 130,000 loyal liberal followers, had a verified account, and I saw that she often responded to comments in her threads.
But, dang it, I missed the one dead giveaway, the fact that her super-popular account was only just created a few months ago in September, 2022.
Some people even more suspicious than me dug into the sordid story, and now it looks like Erica was in fact a highly-sophisticated pysop bot, most likely run by a shady Belgian political consulting group that used the very same cute blonde model in other campaigns. Then investigators figured out that Erica’s photo was AI generated and the lid blew off.
In other words, there’s not even a ‘real’ model behind the fake Erica. She’s 100% artificially generated.
After the story began exploding all over Twitter, it suspended the fake Erica account. One supposes the Twitter team looked into her a little deeper and discovered Erica was really an AI body snatcher.
The fake account — which again, was verified — was very careful and very sophisticated. Reviewers noted that only 5% of its tweets were politically outrageous. The other 95% were just run of the mill, pro-democrat, liberal woke platitudes. Here’s a quick sample:
Take a look at the numbers of likes and re-tweets from fake Erica’s anti-Ashli screeds. The account was obviously very successful at spreading hateful woke messages, thoughts, and ideas.
But the Erica bot has now imploded (exploded? Melted down? Blew a fuse? Our vocabulary needs another expansion) and is now gone. It’s too bad, in a way, since the psyop team running the account obviously put a bunch of work into it. Oh well.
The Fake Erica story was just the tip of the iceberg.
🔥 Now let’s connect the Erica dot to last week’s change in Twitter policy, a policy change immediately affecting many of our C&C readers who don’t have, and don’t want, Twitter accounts. On Saturday, Elon Musk publicly announced a controversial new Twitter policy: reading limits.
A few hours later, after a lot of user pushback, Elon increased the daily reading limits to 10,000, 1,000, and 500 for verified, unverified, and new accounts. These cutoff numbers are called “rate limits,” and in order for them to work, Twitter users must be logged in — hence the need for accounts.
In his announcement, Musk referred to “extreme levels” of “data scraping” and “system manipulation.” What’s he talking about?
Data scraping is when a computer or AI downloads massive numbers of tweets at a time. Without getting too technical, the AI “pretends” to be a user, sending the Twitter servers thousands and thousands of rapidly-fired requests for more and more data, and apart from the unreal velocity of the requests, otherwise appears to be a regular social media addict on speed.
The AI saves all those scraped tweets in a searchable database someplace.
Twitter had noticed that there were increasingly massive amounts of these kinds of automated requests for user data happening all the time. Not only does it affect user privacy, but it drives up Twitter’s costs, because Twitter needs to rent bigger and faster servers to handle all that growing automatic demand on top of the normal, real live user demand.
Data scraping is not especially new; in 2020 it was widely reported how elections consultant Cambridge Analytica scraped Facebook for what now seems like very primitive information about people’s political preferences:
Yesterday, a software developer wrote a thread explaining the data scraping problem in more detail:
That’s only the first few paragraphs of his explanation. If you’re interested in this issue, read the whole thing. Another clue appeared when a user mused on Saturday about how data scraping seems connected with the soaring increase of venture capital for Artificial Intelligence “large language models” (which is what ChatGPT is called), and Musk responded yesterday with a “bullseye” emoji:
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “that’s all fascinating Jeff but what does it have to do with Fake Erica and a Twitter revolution?” Hang in there, it all connects up.
🔥 This is where things get really interesting. A former State Department official, Mike Benz, published a self-interview tweet yesterday speculating how Twitter’s new rate limiting policy would hurt the intelligence agencies, and thus get Musk in trouble with people Chuck Schumer famously said have “six ways from Sunday to get at you.”
How would rate limits hurt the intelligence agencies? Benz speculated that the spooks are mainly the ones doing all the scraping, and are using the massive amounts of “scraped” Twitter user data to help censor Americans and stop them from thinking wrong.
My sense is that is probably true. But censorship is only a single use case. I suspect what’s really going on is much bigger: that the intelligence agencies are using real-time Twitter data to — legally — run all their online psyop operations.
Here’s how it probably works. First, spies and other clandestine government operators publish some new psyop using their network of AI-driven bot accounts — like Erica Marsh and her criticism of Ashli Babbitt, for example. Then the spooks can use their AI-based scraping tools to monitor and analyze millions of user responses in real time, as people click the like buttons, re-tweet things, and post their own tweets and thoughts.
Meanwhile the spooks are watching and testing whether their psyop is working or not.
For example, they might monitor how many democrats were liking, re-tweeting, repeating, and forwarding Fake Erica’s widespread criticism of martyred January 6th hero Ashli Babbitt. And then testing whether the growing criticism was riling up conservatives, and by how much.
If the psy-operators aren’t getting enough of a desired response, they can just rinse and repeat. The best part is it’s fast, cheap and easy. The whole operation could be run from a single workstation by one bearded nerd in a dress. And it’s all so measurable and reportable; perfectly scientific.
In fact, the technique so simple, so straightforward, and so obvious that it would be malpractice if the intelligence agencies were NOT doing it. It works since Twitter — and all the other social media platforms — allow data scraping. And it works legally. There’s no law against it, nobody has an expectation of privacy when they post a public tweet.
Censorship is only one tiny sliver of what the agencies can do with these sorts of tools. This kind of AI-fueled manipulation makes the CIA’s Cold War-era ‘Operation Mockingbird’ look like a warmup act.
People’s addiction to social media means spooks can manipulate folks at population levels and essentially control our thoughts. Need some riots? No problem. Spooks and other bad actors start pushing ugly tweets and Instagrams and Facebook posts about Supreme Court decisions into particular online communities, carefully measure the results, and keep modifying the messages until people are tossing Molotov cocktails down Target’s sneaker aisle.
It’s so simple.
🔥 But Twitter’s new rate limits have probably cut off the intelligence agencies’ ability to effectively use Twitter to control the public conversation while testing the results. Rate limits are the reason Twitter suddenly required user accounts to view tweets: because the social media giant needs to be able to throttle activity PER ACCOUNT, to identify and stop the automated data scrapers and bots.
It seems counter-intuitive that Twitter would want to REDUCE interaction. Twitter succeeds by getting more eyeballs. But that’s only true for REAL eyeballs, not fake AI eyeballs. From Musk’s point of view, in business terms, why should Twitter pay for the government’s massive data mining and thought control project?
Whatever is going on, whether Musk’s goal is to shut down government mass manipulation or just to get his server costs under control, either way, Twitter’s new rate limiting policy is political dynamite.
In the meantime, wherever possible I will do my best to find alternative sources for video clips, like on Youtube, so that our non-Twitter C&Cers can follow along.
And … I told you AI was going to change everything! We’re just getting started.
It’s a Brave New World.
Have a magnificent Monday! I’ll be back tomorrow with my special Independence Day edition — and it’s going to be a doozy.
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