14 votes

The Yang Gang and its bots

1 comment

  1. skybrian
    From the article: [....] [...]

    From the article:

    Some of the bots in the Yang Gang network are very much like the Elizabeth Warren for WV! bot. They are campaign bots and don’t pretend to be otherwise. But others are quite clearly attempting to pass themselves off as real people. Occasionally their profiles will say something like “just here for the Yang stuff” as if to justify/explain why their accounts are new and do nothing but retweet Yang Gang content a hundred times a day.

    These accounts share the same basic template of their MAGA bot cousins. They obsessively retweet. They may have one real tweet pinned so that the first thing you see on their timeline makes it look like they occasionally post original content. They load their bios up with emoji and hashtags. If the account produces original tweets, they will regularly retweet those tweets to further the illusion of real activity.

    It can be difficult to understand what the value is in a fake account retweeting content to followers that consist almost entirely of other fake accounts. But this type of activity has three different groups that make up its audience: the bot’s followers, people following the hashtag, and the account that originated the tweet being retweeted.


    This problem did not start in 2016 and was not invented by the Russians. There’s plenty of evidence that Americans have been in the game from the very beginning. Every campaign for 2020 has some kind of fake account or bot activity working around it.


    At first I thought Mike was a fake account with a stolen identity because when I looked at his Youtube channel all the videos (45 segments in total) had been posted the week before. But the content itself looked real. Sometimes Mike mentions the date and chats about his Youtube stats and the long climb to monetization. If this was a case of someone else’s content being stolen to give a fake account a more realistic backstory, I couldn’t find evidence of it.

    I noticed Mike’s account originally because he’s one of a few links between the MAGA bots and the Yang Gang bots. I kept coming back to Mike’s account because it made me sad. He’s just a kid who wants a fanbase and doesn’t realize he’s sitting alone on the internet clinging to affirmation from bots. I couldn’t help wondering what the gentle encouragement of hundreds of fake accounts was doing to him. He seemed lonely. Eager to please. His last video blog he announced he wasn’t going to college after all…

    10 votes