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News Busters
8 Jul 2023
Tim Graham

NextImg:Washington Post Pushed Twitter to Dump 'Cartoonishly Liberal' Bot Account

Among the Twitter bot accounts that the liberal media hate most are the fake liberal bots who make liberals look like obnoxious idiots -- or who are a little too clumsy and inartful, and make liberals think it must be a conservative plot. It's like a version of banning The Babylon Bee because its satire hits too close to home. 

Consider the case of "Erica Marsh," who tripped the liberal alarms with a June 29 tweet after the Supreme Court upended race-based admissions at Harvard. “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a direct attack on Black people. No Black person will be able to succeed in a merit-based system which is exactly why affirmative-action based programs were needed."

As Legal Insurrection noted, this caused a wave of outrage, particularly among black conservatives like Candace Owens, Bo Snerdley, Leo Terrell and others.

On July 4, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post reported their inquiries to Twitter caused the "Erica Marsh" account to be suspended after her Supreme Court tweet was viewed more than 27 million times.

There’s just one problem: She’s probably a fake.

The “proud Democrat” in Washington, as she described herself on Twitter, doesn’t show up in any local phone or voting records. The Biden presidential campaign, where she said she worked as a field organizer, has no record of her; neither does the Obama Foundation, where she claimed to have volunteered.

Her only other known social media profile, on TikTok, posts copies of her tweets but has never included her speaking or showing her face. And a digital-imaging expert said that the three purported selfies she’s posted on Twitter — showing a young, smiling blond woman — bear the hallmarks of digital manipulation.

“I strongly suspect that this person doesn’t exist,” said John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto who studies online disinformation. “It’s as if she dropped from the moon and arrived fully formed with this narrative that makes liberals look like idiots.

After The Washington Post raised questions about the account with employees of Twitter’s trust and safety department, the account was suspended on Sunday for unknown reasons.

Harwell noted what he and the other liberals -- sorry, the "misinformation experts" were thinking: "For months, Marsh’s account had raised suspicions among online misinformation experts due to her lack of a real-world footprint and her devotion to attention-grabbing viewpoints one called “cartoonishly liberal.” For example, Harwell noted, last month she said she still wears “2 masks whenever I go out and support Ukraine.”

Most Twitter users -- at least the ones outside the censorious left -- find parody accounts amusing, but you want to know what is a parody account and what's not. You might wonder if @AOC is a parody, and not the AOC parody accounts. When Harwell turned back to his expert on "rage" and Twitter, did he consider that the left-wing side is also vulnerable to rage bait? 

“You can go a long way with a reasonably consistent, one-dimensional identity online if it has certain features: smart strategies for posting content, an attractive profile picture, a degree of spice and sassiness,” Scott-Railton said. “Our online discourse is deeply vulnerable to this kind of character.”