Sorry Twitter, This is not the Russian Bot You’re Looking For

It’s a little validating that our Twitter account was suspended this week on suspicion of being a Russian bot.

Twitter wants to crack down on Russian troll farms spreading misinformation and widening division in the American political economy. Look at the news coverage and you’ll see that the purge mostly affected conservative outfits, depriving the likes of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer of thousands of followers.

We don’t like to be in the same crowd as Spencer, but there is a silver lining to this bit. As we previously discussed, Russian operatives worked around the clock to encourage divisive debate on social media. Although news coverage continues to focus on the political and electoral implications, it’s well documented that one of the Russian methods used confederate sympathies to wind up white voters not only in the South but in northern states with receptive white populations.

The recent “purge” does not appear to be a routine cleaning out of automated accounts, called “bots.” After the recent school shooting in Florida, Russian linked accounts on Twitter fan the flames of discord, which seems to have prompted the lockdown. Among those suspected of doing Russian bidding: the Confederate Identity Project.

In a strange way this is affirming news. To be clear: we are not an automated Russian program. This project started to explore the possibility that expanding Confederate identity to beyond the South in America was the key to understanding politics in the Trump era. The Russians seem to have understood this looking from the outside in. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former strategist, understood this. And now Twitter seems to have confirmed it by shutting down our Twitter account based on two factors: we talk about the Confederate States of America and our Twitter feed is quite unimaginative.

About the account: it has virtually no followers. As in one. A self described “nationalist” from Michigan. We follow no one. We use the feed to track news articles about confederate issues, mostly controversies over statues of Confederate generals. It’s not worth our time to write a new post every time a high school must be renamed. But the Twitter feed helps us track and catalog events in Confederate world.

After promising we are not a robot and doing some picture puzzles, we restored our Twitter account. We were simply admonished to “stick to the Twitter Rules” and sent on our way. For the record, we’re pretty sure we were doing that already. Between the subject and the simplicity of our tweets, however, we unfortunately have a bot-like demeanor.

So, by all means follow us on Twitter. Just know that by doing so you can end up in the cross hairs of the anti-Russian algorithms.

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