This article is sort of hilarious. You have Democrats actually paying social media influencers, but it’s the GOP that the article implies is behind disinformation, that the poor Democrats have to do this to beat back the GOP.
Via LA Times:
As conservative conspiracy theories and deepfake videos race through the internet, defying the fact-checkers and bruising political candidates, Curtis Hougland is trying to fight back by borrowing from the playbook of his adversaries.
Hougland, a technologist and online-extremism expert, is hiring small armies of social-media mercenaries to do battle for Democrats.
These are not troops predisposed to political warfare. They are typically not aligned with the progressive candidate or cause that Hougland’s firm, Main Street One, is representing. But they hold a weapon that’s lacking among internet activists in the echo chambers of the left: large and devoted followings of persuadable voters.
“We are making a bet that human networks can out-compete the bots and trolls and sock puppets,” said Hougland, whose background includes helping the Pentagon track and fight Islamic State online.
It’s a fraught bet, one of many Democrats are making as they confront the growing threat that disinformation presents to their hopes of retaking the White House. Since the pandemic took hold, the false narratives ricocheting through social media have surged. Vinesight, one of a crop of startups on the left focused on detecting and fighting the spread of toxic postings online, reports they are up 50% since the height of the Democratic nominating contests in February.
Conspiracy theories and false claims springing from the pandemic are fast blurring into political attacks, typically pointed at Democrats and sometimes propelled by President Trump. While their party has grown adept at tracking the origin and spread of the disinformation, Democrats have yet to find an effective strategy for depriving it of oxygen, particularly as the social media companies — including Facebook and Twitter — are proving to be feckless partners in the fight.
The companies are taking down and labeling as suspect more content than in the past, but are unable to keep pace with all the posts that violate their terms. And they are unwilling to ban the large volume of material, such as Trump’s false claims, that could be branded political speech.