Anonymous users are dominating right-wing discussions online. They also spread false information

The reposts and expressions of shock from public figures followed quickly after a user on the social platform X who uses a pseudonym claimed that a government website had revealed “skyrocketing” rates of voters registering without a photo ID in three states this year — two of them crucial to the presidential contest.

“Extremely concerning,” X owner Elon Musk replied twice to the post this past week.

“Are migrants registering to vote using SSN?” Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, an ally of former President Donald Trump, asked on Instagram, using the acronym for Social Security number.

Trump himself posted to his own social platform within hours to ask, “Who are all those voters registering without a Photo ID in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Arizona??? What is going on???”

Yet by the time they tried to correct the record, the false claim had spread widely. In three days, the pseudonymous user’s claim amassed more than 63 million views on X, according to the platform’s metrics. A thorough explanation from Richer attracted a fraction of that, reaching 2.4 million users.

The incident sheds light on how social media accounts that shield the identities of the people or groups behind them through clever slogans and cartoon avatars have come to dominate right-wing political discussion online even as they spread false information.


Anonymous Foreign


FenrirIII, (edited )

Chinese, North Korean, and Russian shills.

Specified for you.


not at all like lemmy (and basically every platform) where everyone is totally not anonymous :P


2001 called and asked for its headline back.

lennybird, (edited )

Some of these are clearly wedge-driving divisive trolls posing as leftists. Especially those touting voting 3rd party or not voting.


Exact same arguments are made to minimise right wing extremists, “has to be a left wing false flag”.

Both are possible. The enemy is extremism, regardless of leaning.


X did not respond to a request for comment, which was met with an automated reply.

I’m pretty sure that automated reply was just 💩, since that’s what he does with all of his other companies.

circuscritic, (edited )

This is a perfect example of truthful mainstream propaganda.

I have no doubt all of the facts in this piece are correct, but they’re also aligned in such a way to suggest to the reader that the real root of the problem is that commoners are allowed to have anonymous social media accounts not tied to a real name or some government ID program.


It also doesn’t distinguish between anonymous and pseudonemous, which is important.

paraphrand, (edited )

I keep running into people who say moderation is impossible at scale.

It does not make surface level sense to me. But it’s true. Ban evasion is too easy. With no repercussions behavior is not socially enforced.

If you think through it, and do want moderation and bans to work, it always comes back to having to have an authoritative index of all users. And that gets dystopian almost instantly. It always needs some organization or government to tell the platform that a user is who they say they are.




Asimov: nails it

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

The bad guys since high school and in countless tales and yet still in governments and corner suites and at pulpits: weaponizes it

You know who you are: treats it all like team sports thinks is player is ball


I think this is a great comment and I extend the same thinking to the bullshit/ magical thinking people engage in around science/ medicine denial-ism, new age mysticism, and conspiratorial thinking/ I’d rather believe a good story modes of thinking.

100% its a part of our political system, but as Asimov states, its in our cultural life as well, and I have no patience for it. I call it out when I see it and if that makes me the ass hole, so be it. Its a burden I’ll bear to have conversations grounded in reality or not at all.


I mean, okay. But that’s not specific to right-wing stuff.

I’m pseudonymous – “tal” isn’t my given name or surname. I like participating in forums under a pseudonym. I’m not really enthusiastic about forums – like Google Groups – that tried forcing users to use their real names.

Like, if the issue is with use of pseudonyms in general, I don’t think that that’s gonna work, because I would bet that people generally like using forums under pseudonyms.

Pseudonyms reduce use of reputation compared to systems where a real-life identity is involved, because someone can always get a new one.

There are ways to still leverage reputation in pseudonymous environments. So, okay. I’m a pretty prolific commenter. I bet that there are people on here who have learned to recognize “tal”. You can build a reputation associated with a pseudonym, and then people can trust pseudonyms based on the reputation they build.

One thing you can do is to have the software make reputation statistics more-visible. Like, Reddit Enhancement Suite tracked your upvotes and downvotes, and would tell you, next to usernames how many times you’d upvoted or downvoted someone in the past, so that each person had the computer helping you track what you generally thought of their comments in the past.

You could maybe do something like get “expensive” identities that aren’t linked to a real identity. Like, say I need to pay $100 to buy a pseudonym from someone (“”). I generate a public/private keypair. I send Verisign the public key and money, and and they cryptographically sign it. At that point, I can be “tal”, but have bans and reputation linked to that underlying ID, and if I get banned or something, it’d cost me 100 bucks to get a new identity. Could have multiple identities, different costs. The problem is that the cost there may not be sufficient to deter someone running a dedicated disinfo campaign. I mean, okay, so say an identity is $100. I buy a thousand, that’s $100,000. If you want to run a disinfo campaign, that’s probably not a lot of money.

Note that with enough money, you can also attack the above “reputation” route, either by paying people to build up an identity – as was probably done to build reputation associated with the “Jia Tan” group’s attack on xz that was in the news recently – or by simply buying accounts from legitimate users who are willing to sell their account.

ptz, (edited )

It may come as a shock, but IRL, I’m not an admiral. lol

I think the takeaway here is to be more critical of what’s presented as fact rather than whether it comes from someone (pseudo)anonymous.

roguetrick, (edited )

IRL, I’m not an admiral. lol

But I asked you if you were really an admiral and you said it was a stupid question! How could you ever be so deceptive?

ptz, (edited )

LOL. I never said I was, and it was a stupid question. You just saw my outfit and made certain assumptions. xD

(This probably sounds hostile to someone scrolling by who doesn’t know the character lol)


Next you’ll say you don’t have epic British mutton chops

Day ruined :(


It is not about being anonymous. We all are that way here, and we value that.

It is about them weaponizing this totally normal thing, abusing it to cause problems irl. i.e. one person making multiple accounts to act as if something is more popular than it really is.


abusing it to cause problems irl. i.e. one person making multiple accounts to act as if something is more popular than it really is.

The biggest issue as I see it is “trusted” known people, like Musk or Greene amplifying and rebroadcasting disinformation as fact. In a world that made more sense people who engender some level of public trust wouldn’t speculatively rebroadcast suppositions or outright lies/fabrications. Imagine if I posted something on an anonymous Twitter account about extraterrestrials having a base inside the moon, then NASA making a post on their social media that said “Who are these extraterrestrials operating their clandestine Moon base, and what is their intent???”. Nobody would give two fucks about me posting the initial content, but NASA would lose literally all credibility within the entire scientific community. The issue as I see it is “credible” known persons treating these anonymous accounts as vetted, verified sources, which over time has led to a sad amount of people losing their ability to self-assess sources of information they read, now to them every anonymous account is potentially speaking truth regardless of what they’re saying.

I guess this would generally fall under the weaponization you mentioned, but it’s far more insidious than that. I totally believe Musk knows what he’s doing when he makes comments like that mentioned in the article. Does Trump? I think he does, I think it’s been sufficiently proven at this point that Trump is aware of his bullshit and putting on an act to rally his supporters, to sell the character he portrays himself as. Does Greene? I don’t know, she seems kind of fucking unintelligent, I could believe she was one of those people that lost that ability to self-assess and just believes bat-shit, unhinged theories. This is why it’s insidious, it creeps up then bootstraps itself into this self-sustaining engine once you get the initial believers into the power structure. Once that happens how do you separate attacks on disinformation from attacks on the political party itself?


Jon Stewart spent most of his entire career railing against the Fox News, as he called it, “bullshit mountain”, and there is very much evidence that its founder came from Russia with the express intention of making it that way. Or if not, then like Tucker Carlson, at least did not turn away free money when it was offered to him to act in a certain particular manner.

Though what I will point you to instead, b/c you seem like you will REALLY enjoy it, is the video series from Innuendo Studios called “The Alt-Right Playbook”, which contains essentially the material from a college-level course in this exact subject matter, yet expressed in extremely accessible language by anyone willing to put in the effort to think it through. You should LOVE it!:-P It’s entirely free too, though hopefully people donate to help him make more of such fantastic material.

Anyway, imagine if you will: a bird does not “know” how to build a nest, they just do it. If asked, a bird cannot explain the matters of structural integrity, materials resiliency, and so on, even if it somehow could speak (or like if you could read its thoughts). Even so, it manages to accomplish the task b/c of the instincts built into it - i.e., as Daniel Dennett explains (famous atheist apologetics philosopher, here I refer to his book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, though the following is my paraphrase not direct quote), “Nobody is arguing that design work was not done, the question lies rather in who did that design work - a God or the blind natural forces of millions of years of evolution.”

In short: conservatives can be quite effective, even without having the slightest clue of what precisely they are doing or why, as in they (or imagine another hypothetical example of a con-man or -woman) may not know the details of the underlying processes by which it works, yet they still recognize what works vs. does not, and act to exploit what they see. Those January 6th protesters, despite being traitors who tried to perform literally treasonous and fully murderous acts within Congress and the White House, at the same time also thought of themselves as “patriots” who were there to “defend the Constitution” - despite most never having read the actual primary document, or how incongruous those two thoughts would seem to anyone who gives the matter even 10 seconds of rational thought, yet despite that they literally believe both at the same time, and others who were not there choose to believe that it was “peaceful”. The Alt-Right Playbook series explains how this can be accomplished, but even from what I have said so far, you can see that it works.

Another quick peek into it is that few people believe all the crazy stuff, nor is the goal (of those putting it out in the first place, e.g. many of the material has been directly traced to Russian interference e.g. anti-vax memes) even to get someone to truly believe even a single one of them. Rather, the goal is to foment distrust in the overall systems. Which let us be frank: the government truly is corrupt - the conservatives do not have to lie about that much at least - and so then that creates an opening with which they can further widen the divide, maybe even getting them to do something more drastic like secretly tamper with COVID vaccine stocks even in the midst of the pandemic. And then in the meantime, they vote Republican, which has the effect of halting aid to Ukraine, which furthers the Russian agenda - so despite the fact that whatever happens to us here in the USA may even be mostly irrelevant, still we (the general populace) have been used to further an agenda that is not our own. Yet, as time marches on, it might become so, and we may one day form an alliance together with Russia, rather than act to repel it, if Trump gets elected again. Russia is using a quite brilliant strategic maneuver there - what boggles my mind is that it is working. But, we (Americans) are weak as we have faced no true aggressors in most of our lifetimes - even Boomers grew up after WWII, and Korea and Vietnam were somewhat far-off affairs, as too was the Gulf War. We could not imagine a nation (Russia) wanting to literally eat us alive. So we seem to have not truly feared its influence over us anywhere close to the degree that we should have.

And that video series explains in large part why: b/c of the onion-layer effect whereby people get sucked in by the more inoffensive material, even while being groomed to be brought deeper in to the more insidious stuff later on, but only when they are ready do they finally start to realize that all their “joking” previously (like: “it’s the fault of the Jews!:-P”, which they did not truly believe… at the time) has, at first, a grain of truth inside of it, and then later, that it was never a joke to begin with at all. However, if they were to have been presented with the full Nazi/fascist agenda all at once, they would have turned it away, yet like a frog in a cooked pot (a false analogy btw - frogs are smart enough to jump out, it is people who are that dumb as to not!!) they continue to be changed by marinating in the shallower stuff, until as they get deeper and deeper over time, one day they finally are ready to accept the whole reality. Or not, but even so, them remaining in the shallower regions still helps further the agenda overall - e.g. in voting, and in being able to use those people like a magic story’s mage or a necromancer uses a “meat shield”: to deflect attention away from those who truly do believe.

Getting back to what you said: does Musk, or Trump, truly believe in what they are saying and doing? I would rather rephrase the question to be instead: does the authenticity of their belief systems even matter, when they are acting effectively in the services of the facists either way? At what point do they need to cross over to become a “true believer”, when all along their actions were operationally indistinguishable from one anyway? Then, as you say there are people such as Greene, who regardless of their “true beliefs”, are nonetheless useful to the cause.

I applaud your asking these questions - so few people do it seems. True answers are difficult to come by, requiring many hours (and days/weeks/months, maybe years?) of thought, though fortunately there are resources that can help speed that along, and yet how does one even find such things in this era of enshittification where you cannot trust half 90% of what you see & hear - but even so, I maintain that some things like that video series have the “ring of truth” about them, and that once you see the logic behind it, you can never go back to not knowing ever again. Enjoy it!:-)


This. This right here, people, is why the community rules exist and why I’m happy to see them consistently enforced.


The right is so desperate to be upset that they will believe anything except reality.



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  • Cuttlefish1111,


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  • DoomBot5,

    Unfortunately it’s not only the right. A lot of people from all walks of life are jumping on misleading articles because they aling with their views and don’t bother fact checking them. You see it plenty on Lemmy.

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