@Trumpsties: if Trump could wear the ties of his dreams

The President likes long ties, so long he has to scotch-tape 'em to keep them from flying apart; the @trumpsties account reveals the ties Trump would wear, if he could get away with it. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Alt-right bot army "rules trending topics" on Twitter

Twitter's indecisive approach to dealing with trolls, harassment and general abuse—suspected by the paranoid as a symptom its need for growth and reach—confounds users to this day. But the blind eye enables more interesting phenomena, too, such as bot armies pushing fringe stories into the trending tags list.

Joseph Bernstein:

MicroChip, who operates behind a VPN (a special secure network that obscures his location), is an object of fascination and fear, even among some of his political and ideological fellow travelers, who hope not to end up on the wrong side of one of his Twitter campaigns. One conservative observer of the alt-right, who spoke to BuzzFeed on the condition that his name not be used, claimed he once hired private investigators to trace him. ... MicroChip said the truth, both about his identity and the method he developed for spreading pro-Trump messages on Twitter, is far more prosaic. Though he would not divulge his real name or corroborate his claim, MicroChip said that he is a freelance mobile software developer in his early thirties and lives in Utah. In a conversation over the gaming chat platform Discord, MicroChip, who speaks unaccented, idiomatic American English, said that he guards his identity so closely for two reasons: first, because he fears losing contract work due to his beliefs, and second, because of what he calls an “uninformed” discourse in the media and Washington around Russian influence and botting.

The alt-right botmaster describes himself a "staunch liberal" who was "redpilled" by Islamic terrorism, then figured out how to automate Twitter trends. Read the rest

Twitter replaces egg with genderless head and shoulders icon

The thinking behind Twitter's replacement for the troll-favorite egg profile photo is a vaguely human placeholder that is unpleasant enough to encourage people to replace it with a custom icon.

We noticed that some people kept the egg default profile photo because they thought it was fun and cute, but we want people to use this space to show us who they are! The new default image feels more like an empty state or placeholder, and we hope it encourages people to upload images that express themselves.

We’ve noticed patterns of behavior with accounts that are created only to harass others – often they don’t take the time to personalize their accounts. This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior, which isn’t fair to people who are still new to Twitter and haven’t yet personalized their profile photo.

Will it work? Read the rest

The basic opsec failures that unmasked James Comey's Twitter show how hard this stuff is

Gizmodo's Ashley Feinberg (almost certainly) figured out that James Comey's secret Twitter handle was @projectexile7, because America's top G-man failed at some of the most basic elements of operational security. Read the rest

Prison sentence for Spanish woman who tweeted jokes about the assassination of Franco's fascist successor

Julio writes, "A Spanish woman was sentenced yesterday for tweeting jokes about the 1973 assassination of Carrero Blanco (the appointed successor or General Franco). She was 16 at the time of her tweeting." Read the rest

Conservative trolls pretending to be black on Twitter "sad" and "obvious"

A sharp increase in right-wingers pretending to be black on Twitter as they troll people has been noted.

"I'm used to trolling, and it doesn't bother me, but the idea of a black woman selling her sons out to police with everything we know now was so sad to me that I couldn't wrap my mind around it. And the idea that anyone — let alone a black person — could say Emmett Till deserved to die is just so beyond the pale," he said.

Over the past few months, Black Twitter has noticed an increase in the number of white trolls creating fake Twitter accounts. Newkirk says he first noticed this around election time last year, when people began posting directions on how to create these fake accounts on websites and forums.

This sounds like a play-for-play repeat of a strategy defined during the gamergate imbroglio: a generic female name, a googled cutesy avatar and a comically idealized personality that supposedly will bring the enemy to their knees but which convinces no-one but fellow believers. "All very cartoonish," as Newkirk describes.

...one of the common mistakes trolls make is misusing or overusing African-American Vernacular English. "It's not just that they get the rules of AAVE wrong — both the spoken and written conventions — they also don't code switch the way black people do. Not a lot of effort goes into these accounts, in my honest opinion," Rosenbaum says.

Likewise, the gamergate-era trolls would mix up various strata of queer theory and feminism in precisely the same uncannily comical way. Read the rest

What is the right punishment for blasphemy?

BBC Asian Network raised a few eyebrows after tweeting "What is the right punishment for blasphemy?" While it's clear from watching the video all the way through that BBC's Shazia Awan is not taking a side, BBC Asia later apologized. Read the rest

Someone used McDonalds' Twitter account to call Trump a "disgusting excuse for a president" with "tiny hands"

McD's claims their official account was hacked, and the tweet has been deleted, but the internets are skeptical. Read the rest

Fiverr's new recruiting ad promises to literally work you to death

It's not a parody, apparently: "You eat a coffee for lunch. You follow through on your follow through. Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer. In doers we trust." As Nick Mamatas says, "Back in the 1990s, this ad would be the result of billboard liberation." Read the rest

Two taxonomies of Trump tweets

After careful study, UC Berkeley's George Lakoff has devised a rigorous taxonomy of Trump tweets to allow the general public to see beyond their superficial qualities and understand the President's complex motivations.

It's "strategic." Media liberals love this. Mike Ginn, however, has observed an even more cunning plan.

Read the rest

It's very hard to maintain an anonymous Twitter account that can withstand government-level attempts to de-anonymize it

It's one thing to set up an "anonymous" Twitter Hulk account whose anonymity your friends and colleagues can't pierce, because the combination of your care not to tweet identifying details, the stilted Hulk syntax, and your friends' inability to surveil the global internet and compel phone companies to give up their caller records suffice for that purpose. Read the rest

Trump supporter in a lynch-the-journalists tee, November 2016

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How to talk about shitgibbons with your high school English class

The introduction of "shitgibbon" into America's political discourse is a teachable moment for English classes studying the evolution of language. Read the rest

Enjoy this bizarre, spacey, amateurish Breitbart interview with Sean Spicer

For eight minutes, Breitbart's Charlie Spiering interviewed Sean Spicer, looking into the wrong camera, stumbling over his words, spacing out, sitting silently for long, awkward stretches -- all with CNN running on the large flatscreens behind the President's spokesliar. Read the rest

Restaurant owner acquitted after foiling police sting

Restauranteur John Horvatinovich refused to serve beer to two undercover teenagers, then let his followers know about the failed sting by sharing a picture of the underage police informants. Next thing he knew, he faced a year in jail for his tweet. Read the rest

Milo Yiannopoulos speech at UC Berkeley canceled after campus protests

Milo as “Ivana Wall,” speaking at Louisiana State University on Sep. 21, 2016. Say the name out loud and you'll get the joke. “Right about now your dick is probably confused,” read one of the slides on stage during the performance. Image: Reddit.

Pro-Trump and extremist right wing/white supremacist personality Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to deliver a speech at U.C. Berkeley, but his appearance was canceled by university officials tonight after big protests on campus that got out of hand with some people setting some objects on fire. No arrests or injuries reported.

Yiannopoulos is doing a speaking tour on college campuses to promote his male "Privilege" scholarship fund.

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How to keep your secret activist Twitter account a secret

Despite his widely read criticism of Tor, The Gruqq -- a legendary, pseudonymous security expert -- uses it as first and last line of defense in keeping your secret, activist Twitter account a secret. Read the rest

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