Twitter told congressional investigators Thursday that it found more than two hundred Russia-linked accounts during its review of malicious bots and misinformation during the 2016 president campaign. For me, this kind of puts a realistic spin on the fantastic, dark and creepy notion of Russian hackers finding their way into our rigidly protected cyberspace. This could be as simple as young Fyodor clicking a blue box that promises "I am not a bot," and proceeding to dump his brand of trolling into the stream. It puts a damper on the scene in which a bunker full of faceless drones type away at machines at once antiquated as well as souped-up for international espionage.
With some mild frequency I experience some of this sabotage in the form of solicitations to try a carpet cleaning service as a comment on one of my blogs. Yes friends, it can happen here. Right here in the Paradise I like to call Entropical. I try to discourage myself from clicking on the supplied link, even though it surely seems legitimate enough. Why would this happen? How can this happen?
Well, I guess the fact that this service is a free one and I am getting exactly what I paid for. The safeguards placed on my account is on a par with that "I am not a bot" check box. Once you've broken through that layer of security, you have reached the inner sanctum. The only defense I have is to delete the offending comment.
Yes. That's all there is to it. That and the capacity to recognize an advertisement for a carpet cleaning service from someone wishing to argue a point or add a detail to one of my dispatches. Since I have rarely, until now, mentioned carpet cleaning I expect that these are the leaks in the net that I have to deal with myself. I do this with a heavy heart, since I never will know for certain that these were not encoded messages from someone trapped in a carpet cleaning company, strapped to a laptop, trying n vain to reach out to anyone who could give them the faintest glimmer of hope. Hope that fades to black as soon as I hit the "do you really want to delete this comment? Yes" button.
So it turns out that a portion of the right wing rhetoric that was spouted leading up to the 2016 election may have been from that same scary warehouse. Or living room. Or Moscow penthouse. I am not alone in all this. Our "President" may have a following on Twitter that is more than half bot. Twitter, which does the occasional audit to see who is pushing their buttons, suggested that up to fifty-five percent of the "President's" followers might be just pretend. Which comes as sort of a relief. A really loud and annoying relief. Press the delete button.