On Wednesday Facebook deep-sixed four different networks of pages and accounts that were found guilty of "coordinated inauthentic behavior" -- the kinds of cheating and spamming that soil the social media landscape.
One of the networks was linked to Roger Stone and Proud Boys, the far-right group that FB has banned under its hate policies.
Another network contained dozens of "fake" accounts tied to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. FB said the accounts targeted journalists and political opponents of the president. Sometimes, FB said, other accounts posed as reporters.
So: Another day, another mass-removal of bogus social profiles that manipulated the public. This is "probably only scratching the surface of the shady political tactics being used," Donie O'Sullivan pointed out Wednesday night. "A good reminder that what you see on Facebook might not be what it seems."
Yes -- but it's almost impossible to know just how big the proverbial iceberg is. How much of what looks like "engagement" on the web is actually "fraud?"
The Mueller connection
Another chip off the iceberg
Earlier this week Adam Rawnsley of The Daily Beast broke this story: "Twitter just suspended 16 Twitter accounts that were part of a network of fake personas. Together they spent the last year placing about 90 op-eds in +40 different news outlets."
Donie's big point
Donie O'Sullivan writes: Here's the thing -- the most dystopian thing. We know these accounts are fake. We know there are many, many fake accounts leaving comments on Facebook and Twitter... comments designed to provoke and enrage us...
But by knowing this, by having this be part of the public consciousness, we see many people claiming that REAL Americans on social media are fakes or bots or Russian trolls when they see them share a viewpoint they don't agree with. The collective national paranoia this has created is corrosive.