The democratizing effect of social media and independent news outlets has long been touted as an answer to mainstream media and it’s control of the popular narrative in the US. User driven websites like Reddit and independent blogs and news sites like Truth Axis have given a voice to millions of people who otherwise wouldn’t be heard through traditional media channels. These alternatives and their uncontrolled narratives have become such a problem that big government and powerful interests have begun targeting social media and comment sections with virtual troll armies. A notable example was Vladimir Putin’s troll army which has “hundreds of paid bloggers (who) work round the clock to flood Russian internet forums, social networks and the comments sections of western publications with remarks praising the president, Vladimir Putin, and raging at the depravity and injustice of the west.”
Now that the Presidential elections have heated up, a Super PAC has begun coordinating with Hillary Clinton’s campaign to control the political narrative across social media, news sites and blogs. The Daily Beast reports:
Citing “lessons learned from online engagement with ‘Bernie Bros,’” a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC is pledging to spend $1 million to “push back against” users on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram.
Correct the Record’s “Barrier Breakers” project boasts in a press release that it has already “addressed more than 5,000 people that have personally attacked Hillary Clinton on Twitter.” The PAC released this on Thursday.
The PAC was created in May of last year when it was spun off from the American Bridge SuperPAC, which is run by longtime Hillary and Bill Clinton supporter David Brock. Brock also founded the left-wing media watchdog website Media Matters for America.
Some Bernie Sanders-supporting users on Reddit already started to notice the changes on Thursday afternoon.
“This explains why my inbox turned to cancer on Tuesday,” wrote user OKarizee. “Been a member of reddit for almost 4 years and never experienced anything like it. In fact, in all my years on the internet I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Correct the Record, which has received $5 million this campaign season and has spent almost $4.5 million of it, according to OpenSecrets.org, outlined its strategy against “swarms of anonymous attackers” in a press release.
“While Hillary Clinton fights to break down barriers and bring America together, the Barrier Breakers 2016 digital task force will serve as a resource for supporters looking for positive content and push-back to share with their online progressive communities, as well as thanking prominent supporters and committed superdelegates on social media,” the statement read.