-Look, banning things never works. People will find ways to get them.
There is a long history of trolls pretending to be minorities, particularly Black women, on social media. Russia has applied this tactic, known as “digital blackface,” to their ongoing disinformation efforts. In the 2016 Presidential campaign, the IRA had dozens of accounts that engaged in the Black Lives Matter community. They even ran their own activist organization, complete with website, newsletter, social media campaign, and even podcast. These tactics have only continued.
Accounts like Amy don’t tend to spread stories that are false. Just the opposite, they often talk meaningfully about Black culture and history (stealing content from other, legitimate sources). They also discuss topics of very real concern. They focus on issues of police violence, racial discrimination, and economic inequality.
Like with other trolls, however, you don’t see any personal information from Amy, or any proof that she is, in truth, a Black American (only the single photo, no personal posts). And like the conservative trolls, Amy’s posts are often angry and paint the other side as despicable and beyond compromise. It is very important to point out that similar posts are often made by real users with genuine concerns. Anger and disgust are often legitimate responses to world events. The difference is that Amy doesn’t care about the issues, anger and disgust is her goal. Trolls like Amy post about important issues, but not constructively.
Many trolls like Amy also frequently use messages that are fun and uplifting. These may include cute babies, inspirational messages, and funny content. Professional trolls are really just professional marketers and they know how to reach their audience and grow their accounts. Some of these messages have gone viral, like the tweet below from the Russian troll account @dany_xoo with over 400 thousand likes. The content is innocent, but by helping the troll gain followers it is still serving a dangerous purpose.
This man has played soccer his entire life.
His reaction when his 2 yo son shows him one of his moves is priceless!😍
You may have questioned the tweet that used “#TrumpIsARussianAsset #RussianInterference”. Russian trolls have a high opinion of themselves.