Tommy Robinson 34 Fan Twitter Boycott Disappointing

A month ago after Guido remarked on the similarities between Anjem Choudary and Tommy Robinson, his knuckle-dragging fans promised Guido a boycott and that they would unfollow Guido. So it is a great disappointment that only 34 unfollowed – is that it? In the past month @GuidoFawkes has gained nearly two thousand followers…

MP Demands Ban on Anonymous Twitter Accounts

Last night’s Westminster Hall debate on abuse and intimidation during the election saw MPs tell horror stories from the campaign. The majority aired legitimate concerns about having to deal with angry nutters. Others however sought to exploit the debate to push for draconian changes to the law. The new Labour MP for East Lothian Martin Whitfield asked if “now is the time to ban anonymous social media accounts”. Last week SNP MEP Alyn Smith called for “a ban on the kind of anonymous accounts which seem to enable people to be so unpleasant”.

This idea is obviously preposterous as it would bring an end to the much-lowed anonymous crowd-sourced account EyeSpyMP, or Photoshop wizard General Boles. More importantly, the removal of anonymity exposes politically engaged social media users operating under hostile regimes to serious dangers. The @Raqqa_SL account saw a team of 17 anonymous Syrian activists expose life under ISIS. Do Whitfield and Smith think their identities should have been revealed? Almost as if these idiots haven’t thought their dense idea through. 

MPs discussed a potential review of their legal protections, particularly with regard to online hate. Online conduct laws are already extensive, and the police have said for some years that the majority of their calls are already to do with online incidents. The substantial body of electoral law in the UK arguably affords more protection to candidates from false claims, abuse and intimidation than is enjoyed by ordinary citizens. Serious offenders end up in prison. The necessary protections already exist, especially so for MPs…

Anonymous accounts operated by insiders are key sources for journalists and are used by whistleblowers. Anonymity and free speech have long been intimately linked in the tradition of liberty: from Cato’s Letters in Britain to The Federalist Papers in the US, pseudonymous communication has underpinned free expression. Today, anonymous social media accounts are used by political activists to undermine repressive regimes throughout the world. Freedom from abuse, not abuse of freedom…

Caitlin Moran Calls 4 Out of 5 of Her Readers “C*nts”

Caitlin Moran has once again, unwisely, gone on a foul-mouthed Twitter rant this morning with: “voting for Labour = not being a c**t”.

Unfortunately for Moran, this makes 80% of her Times readers c**ts, as only 20% of Times readers voted for Labour in 2015. This figure pales in comparison to the 55% who voted for the Conservatives in that election.

Even worse for Moran, The Times today officially endorsed the Conservatives this morning. 

Can’t wait for her defeat column on Saturday…

UPDATE: Moran has now deleted the Tweet, possibly after a stern word from the boss.

Gary Lineker’s Walkers Selfie Stunt Backfires Spectacularly

Walkers Crisps have launched a marketing stunt asking users to send in selfies on Twitter, which are then being superimposed into a video with Gary Lineker and automatically tweeted from the Walkers account. What could possibly go wrong?

Tough day in the Walkers social media department.

Woodcock’s Comedy Legal Threat

Shouty-crackers Corbyn hater-in-chief John Woodcock got very upset with former Corbyn spinner Matt Zarb-Cousin last night. Zarb-Cousin wouldn’t take Woodcock’s pious whinging and accused him of briefing against Corbyn “pretty much every day”. Woodcock responded by calling the tweet “defamatory” and threatening Zarb-Cousin. Handbags…

Strange Woodcock is claiming he hasn’t briefed against Corbyn. His pinned tweet is literally a video of him slagging Corbyn off…

Pro-Erdogan Mass Twitter Hack

Last night several major Twitter accounts posted tweets showing a swastika symbol and the words “Nazi Germany” and “Nazi Holland” written in Turkish. Some accounts had their header image changed to the Turkish flag in what seems to be a mass hack by supporters of the Turkish autocrat Erdogan. Affected accounts include Forbes, Amnesty International, the European Parliament, Justin Bieber, Dortmund football club, the UK Department of Health and EyeSpy.MP. It seems the hack happened via a third-party app – possibly Twitter Counter – rather than the accounts themselves being compromised. Twitter Counter claimed in November that they had secured their accounts after a hack…

Owen Jones Driven Off Twitter by Left-Wing Haters

Owen Jones today announces he is “taking a break” from social media because he is finding it “a) totally unproductive and b) frankly just completely and utterly depressing.” In an extraordinary Facebook post aimed at the hard left, Jones wrote this morning:

“On a daily basis I have angry strangers yelling at me, on the one hand, that I’m responsible for the destruction of the Labour Party, and on the other, I’m a right-wing sellout careerist who’s allied to Tony Blair and possibly in the pay of the Israeli government (and that I’m a Blairite c*** who needs to go fuck myself, and so on and so forth)…

“Both my parents are staunch supporters of Jeremy Corbyn; they’re leading members of their local Momentum branch. They don’t agree with lots of what I’ve said. Unlike the increasingly frothing keyboard warriors, neither doubts for a second that what I says comes from the heart…

“I’m just wasting my life. I wouldn’t choose to walk every day into a room full of total strangers screaming mindless abuse and making up what I think and what my motives are, but in a sense that’s what I’m currently doing.”

Labour is tearing itself apart in cyberspace…

Fox He Talking About? Mad Corbynista’s Midnight Meltdown

As we await the results in Stoke and Copeland, former Labour MP Chris Williamson – who still claims to be an MP on Twitter – is keeping everyone entertained with this quite mad meltdown. For some reason Williamson appears to be trolling the much-loved veteran broadcaster Alastair Stewart about the death of his chickens:

Step away from the keyboard, Chris…

Pro-Trump Twitter Bots Pumping Out Guardian Links

This is a weird one: a co-conspirator has noticed that large numbers of pro-Trump Twitter bots are endlessly pumping out links to the Guardian‘s website. Accounts with names like @TroopsTrump, @ViewTrump, @TrumpNoticie and @DonaldsNewws have been programmed by unknown persons to automatically tweet out Guardian stories, often about Brexit. The accounts have real human followers, meaning the automated tweets will be driving traffic towards the Guardian’s website, as well as inflating their social media sharing stats. Guido is stumped as to why someone controlling pro-Trump accounts would want to do this. Putin knows Seumas has left the Guardian, right?

Top Bercow Aide’s Abusive Tweets About Tory MPs

A close aide to John Bercow – who the Speaker once called his “stalwart” – can be revealed as a Labour supporter who has sent a string of abusive anti-Tory tweets. Tom Tweddle has worked as Bercow’s assistant since 2011, before which he was a researcher for former Labour minister Quentin Davies. His Gareth Snell-style Tory-bashing is apparent from a brief glance at his Twitter account:


All these comments were made during Tweddle’s employment with the Speaker, while he was supposedly helping him in his non-partisan role. Unfortunate timing as Bercow faces questions about his impartiality… 

Kippers & Cybernats Most Stuck in Twitter Echo Chambers

Guido has written previously about how we are living in our own filter bubbles, both on social media and offline. Demos take us inside the echo chamber with their report “Talking To Ourselves”. The study confirms what many have observed for years: there is a huge echo chamber effect in political discussion online, meaning people tend to share and engage with news sources and individuals who share their own beliefs, and shun those with opposing views. Demos analysed the Twitter accounts of 2,000 users, finding:

“supporters of UK political parties tend to talk to themselves online, to read and share news that is ideologically in tune with their party and discuss issues on which they hold strong ideological views”

The research shows SNP and UKIP supporters have a particularly strong aversion to engaging with people or organisations who hold opposing views. Labour supporters are most likely to share links from the BBC, Guardian, Mirror, Indy and HuffPo. Tories seem less stuck in their echo chamber, sharing links from the BBC, GuardianTelegraph and MailAll groups tend shares news from sites aligned with their party affiliation – the further from the centre their affiliation, the deeper the echo chamber becomes…

This is replicated in the analysis of retweets. Labour, SNP and UKIP supporters retweet their fellow party supporters the vast majority of the time. Tories retweet fellow Tories less, though still more than they do anyone else. 

The data found @GuidoFawkes is the sixth most retweeted political site among the survey group, ahead of even the BBC and ITV. Unsurprisingly our retweeters are more likely to come from parties on the right:

The report concludes:

“Compromise, the ability to process a diverse range of opinion and, above all, an acceptance of some kind of shared reality and truth are central to a functioning democracy. All are threatened by the echo chamber effect.”

As our information sources become ever more filtered and self-socialised this will mean that we live in our own social media echo chambers. Is this a significant social problem? As we have seen recently, it means that after elections and referendums the losers are unpleasantly surprised…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Chris Addison Forgets Dave’s Dementia Record

Chris Addison is the archetypal virtue signalling BBC lefty luvvie. Naturally, when David Cameron was appointed president of Alzheimer’s Research UK yesterday, Addison took umbrage, asking: “Imagine how much you could have helped that if you’d been Prime Minister for seven years or something”. If right-on Addison was as informed as he likes his Twitter followers to think, he would know that Cameron prioritised Alzheimer’s and dementia while in government, spent hundreds of millions on dementia research, set up the Dementia Research Institute, spent millions more on dementia care in hospitals and care homes, backed numerous dementia programmes including the 2020 Challenge and Dementia Friends, oversaw an increase in dementia diagnosis rates from 42% to 68%, hosted the first ever G8 dementia summit in 2013 and gave a major speech for Global Dementia Legacy in 2014. Perhaps Addison forgot all this. Still, at least he got some retweets.

UPDATE: The unthinkable has happened, someone on Twitter has admitted they were wrong:

Front Page News

Nick Sutton has announced that he will no longer be tweeting out the nightly newspaper front pages with the hashtag . He has handed over the responsibility to @, @ and @He is busy enough running the BBC News website…

It is fair to say that his tweets influence front pages in terms of layout and timing. When tabloids have a scoop they have to weigh up the publicity versus the risk of giving away the one fact story for free. Some of us wonder about Sutton’s definition of a newspaper; the Independent’s digital “front page” only exists in virtual reality to be tweeted and the union-printed Morning Star has fewer readers than Guido, yet is still worthy of BBC promotion. These are quibbles, the initiative sets off nightly social media conversations and is a valuable public service for the chattering classes…

Lineker Reveals Naivety and Personal Vendettas of Section 40 Lobby

Gary Lineker is a Hacked Off backer and high profile supporter of Section 40. Last night the respected media law expert David Banks explained to Lineker why Section 40 is so dangerous: because it will charge newspapers costs when corrupt, powerful people make vexatious legal claims against them. Lineker extraordinarily tried to argue that no one makes libel threats against newspapers with the aim of killing true stories:

As Banks and several others pointed out to Lineker, this is demonstrably untrue. Some examples: police boss Gordon Anglesea obtained libel damages from two papers and threatened many others before eventually being convicted of child abuse. The Guardian received legal threats from over a hundred clients of HSBC’s Swiss bank when they investigated their leaked account data. Last year Guido received a number of legal threats over true stories, for example from Nick Clegg. Vexatious legal threats aiming to shut down news stories happen every week, this is an irrefutable fact. One which the worryingly naive Lineker refused to acknowledge. 

Lineker then called for collective punishment of the national media, local newspapers, the entire magazine industry and student papers, justified in his mind because of “the Sun and Mail”. When Guido pointed out the problem with this non-argument, he replied:

I.e. The newspapers Gary has a personal problem with.

These three exchanges show the issue with Lineker, Max Mosley, Hacked Off, Impress and the Section 40 lobby. They are rich celebrities with personal vendettas against the press, either naive or wilfully blind to the facts, unable to offer any reasonable arguments other than ill-thought out policies driven by their own prejudices. Lineker revealed a lot about the people behind Section 40 last night, there are just five days left for it to be canned…

Mutinous Telegraph Journalists Locked Out of Twitter Accounts

Telegraph bosses locked their journalists out of the paper’s social media accounts over Christmas as they hunted for a mutinous employee who publicly attacked the editor. After a disgruntled hack used the Telegraph Politics Twitter account to blast Chris Evans for “firing journalists”, passwords for the paper’s various social media streams were changed. Journalists were not told the new passwords as bosses decided they couldn’t be trusted not to continue the online insurrection. The lockdown caused chaos on Christmas Day when the below tweet misquoting the Queen was sent by the ‘Social’ team from the main Telegraph account. It stayed up for over an hour because none of the journalists who spotted the error knew the password to log in and delete it.

Trust and competence at an all time low at Telegraph towers…

PM’s Aides Turn Anger on CCHQ

Eagle-eyed tweeters will have noticed that the CCHQ Twitter account has not posted anything for six days. Nothing at all, in fact, since their ill-fated tweets directly targeting Labour MPs who abstained on the Article 50 vote. The attack misfired after it emerged some of the Labour MPs were away on international trips with Tory colleagues who also didn’t vote, a fact Labour took great delight in publicising. Theresa May’s famously relaxed and easy going Downing Street aides are said to have taken particular exception to the line of attack. Or as one Tory insider puts it:

“No. 10 went f*cking apesh*t, like bone throwing mad.”

Nicky Morgan got off lightly…

Amy Lame is Sorry, Not Sorry

khan22

City AM reports that Sadiq Khan’s Twitter troll aide has written to the leaders of six Tory councils apologising for calling Ruth Davidson scum, George Osborne a “c*nt” and celebrating Thatcher’s death. Since Lame’s only public response to the row has been to ‘like’ tweets supporting her unhinged rants, you’ll be forgiven for not believing her apology is genuine.

Still no explanation from Khan or Lame about her tax arrangements, which are highly abnormal for a public official…

Leave.EU-Backed Raheem Had Little Real Support, Despite Social Media Lead

raheem-twibons-ahead
The social media profiles of UKIP’s leadership candidates show Raheem Kassam was far ahead of his rivals before he pulled out this morning. The best indicator of online campaign support was the twibbon, where supporters add a campaign slogan to their social media profiles. Raheem had 1,326 twibbons, dwarfing leadership favourite Nuttall’s 214 – and yet all the signs indicate that Nuttall will win. Despite the online support Kassam admitted this morning that one of the reasons for quitting was he couldn’t raise enough money: “While we raised enough for our deposit, and got over 200 assentors to my nomination, we could not raise enough for this to be more than a digital campaign run from SW1”. What does this tell us about the relative importance of digital campaigning?

This has implications for Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit campaign group set up by multi-millionaire businessman Arron Banks, which backed Raheem. Leave.EU claims their huge social media reach* helped create “an extraordinary mass movement, drawing in swathes of voters neglected by the main political parties.” Banks has hinted that this will be the kernel for a new “people’s movement”. Banks is confusing “likes”, “follows” and casual clicktivism with active support. Leave.EU bought Facebook “likes” essentially by buying traffic.

Digital campaigns which enable commitment; donations, offline meetings, phone banking and membership drives do actually achieve something. Campaigns which generate clicks, petition signings and social flag counts are just virtue signalling. The casual easy click is no more substantive or permanent than what is trending online at any moment. Guido speaks as someone who garnered a million signatures and emails in one campaign, Banks has not got the beginnings of a popular movement, he has captured the virtue signals of a moment…

*As Dominic Cummings rightly points out, Facebook’s algorithms mean that Leave EU’s half-a-million “likes” are just a form of digital dick-waving, they achieve nothing in terms of visibility or extending reach. Leave.EU has less than half as many Twitter followers as @GuidoFawkes

Michael Gove v Tim Walker

A catty encounter between Michael Gove (who’s clearly enjoying his new Twitter account) and diary journalist turned Remoaner Tim Walker:

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

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