Conservative digital activists were smeared as behaving like “Russian trolls” by a recent article in the Washington Post. The writer also made sure to reach out to both Twitter and Facebook to get the teenage activists banned.
The article goes to great lengths — even interviewing PhDs — to compare the teenagers to “bots,” even though the article presents no evidence that any accounts were not operated by humans, and to “Russian trolls,” even though the article acknowledges that the people in charge of the accounts were Americans.
The article also casts normal behavior of political activists, like reading from a shared list of talking points, as somehow unusual. The Washington Post labels the act of paying people to repeat political messages — a standard feature of virtually all major political campaigns — as “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
Twitter and Facebook appeared to agree, suspending the accounts after the Washington Post reached out to them.