Feb 6, 2017

Trump fans used Twitter bots to create a "giant megaphone"

Mike Allen, author of AM

Doug Strickland / Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

Some Trump campaign supporters became adept at using Twitter bots to amplify their online voices, giving him a little-recognized advantage on social media. A WashPost front-pager, "Online pundits use 'bots' to turn tweets into roars," by Craig Timberg in Chicago, unpacks the phenomenon:

  • Two Twitter accounts of Daniel John Sobieski, 68, "one of the nation's most prolific conservative voices ... tweet more than 1,000 times a day using 'schedulers' that work through stacks of his own pre-written posts in repetitive loops."
  • "Researchers have documented the power of automation technology to magnify some points of view while drowning out others... [I]t's like a giant megaphone..."
  • "One research team found that 'highly automated accounts' supporting President Trump ... out-tweeted those supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton by a ratio of 5 to 1 in the final days before the vote."
  • "This Twitter advantage had spillover effects, helping pro-Trump and anti-Clinton stories to trend online, making them more likely to find their way into Facebook feeds or Google's list of popular news stories."

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Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 8th day

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: The National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday that while it "is committed to the peaceful expression of First Amendment rights," it "cannot tolerate violence to citizens or officers or damage to our nation’s resources that we are entrusted to protect."

American carnage

Protesters race up a hill to avoid tear gas in Philadelphia, June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The list of victims has swiftly grown since George Floyd died in police custody just eight days ago.

The big picture: Protests against police brutality have turned into a showcase of police brutality, with tear gas and rubber bullets deployed against crowds. The police have the arsenals at their disposal, but we're also seeing law enforcement officers becoming targets.

McConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump's actions against peaceful protesters

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked a resolution introduced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday that would have condemned the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday in order to allow President Trump to walk to St. John's Church.

What they're saying: "Justice for black Americans in the face of unjust violence, and peace for our country in the face of looting, riots, and domestic terror. Those are the two issues Americans want addressed," McConnell said on the Senate floor.