Andrew Tate, the online misogynist, manosphere influencer and suspected sex trafficker, will remain under lock and key for another 30 days, reports the BBC. Tate was arrested in Romania after authorities there were, supposedly, tipped off to his presence by a series of enraged and transparently humiliated postings on Twitter in response to teenage activist Greta Thunberg tweeting "firstname.lastname@example.org" at him.
On Thursday night, Romania's Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism issued a statement, but did not name the Tate brothers, stating that two British citizens and two Romanian citizens were suspected of being part of a human trafficking group. The statement said officers had identified six people who were allegedly "sexually exploited" by what it called an "organised criminal group". Police alleged the victims were "recruited" by the British citizens, who they said had misrepresented their intention to enter into a relationship with the victims – which it called "the loverboy method". They were later forced to perform in pornographic content under threat of violence, the statement alleged.
My only contribution to this discourse is to point out that legal events like this herald a new level of fake news.
"Traditional" fake news grows, more or less, from pseudonymous accounts, bots and other bottom-feeders and losers, then makes its way up, bridging trust gaps one tier at a time: Infowars can cite whatever, Breitbart can cite Infowars, the Washington Times can cite Breitbart, Fox News can cite the Washington Times, and Hillary's health is off to the races.
The new fake news, though, instantiates fully-formed as BREAKING NEWS postings by media-adjacent social media influencers, goes immediately viral, and (so far) never leaves the social media ecology. The two big examples in the last week were fake news that Tory Lanez was acquitted of shooting hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion, when in fact he had been convicted, and that Andrew Tate was quickly released by Romanian authorities after his arrest two days ago.
A distinctive part of it is that the fake news is completely immune to disruption by the emergence of the truth or the parallel virality of the factual coverage. It forms a totally impermeable reality of its own in the comments, a bubble in a bought bluecheck.