Devin Nunes with some cows. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

Yup. Devin Nunes is Still Batshit Crazy

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Earlier this year, Republican Congressmen and avid Trump Supporter, Devin Nunes, got really triggered on Twitter when a fake account was created called Devin Nunes’ cow@DevinCow. The account was created as a parody acting as an unhappy cow living on Devin’s family Iowa “farm”.

Nunes freaked out and filed suit against Twitter, the parody account, and political commentator Liz Mair. Nunes is seeking over $250,000,000 in damages.

News of the lawsuit exploded Nunes Cow’s account popularity from a mere 1000 followers to 622k as of this date. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am one of them.

All of the controversy has led to hundreds of other users also creating parody Devin Nunes accounts, who he occasionally threatens to sue from time to time. The more he pushes the more it seems to blow up in his face.

That’s just the beginning. Devin has decided to go to war against what he feels is a social media bias against him; when in fact it’s mostly just people expressing their opinions against him and he doesn’t like being unpopular. He often buys into a plethora of Alt-right conspiracy theories from shadow bans, to liberal algorithms running Google, and god knows what else to support his claims.

Well, he’s still at it. And now he’s ramped it up and is making claims of securities fraud, and antitrust practices, claiming campaigns are using “Bot farms” to attack him politically. He was recently on Fox Business with Maria Bartiromo to sell more of his crazy ideas.

Now to be fair, a whole host of social media bots do exist. They have been around since the birth of social media. But this isn’t really a partisan issue. It’s simply some enterprising individuals with some pretty sweet algorithms, willing to sell you what you need to get whatever job you want done.

It’s often the end user that sets all of the parameters of the bots like what it’s going to say, or what auto replies it will use. If it’s a sophisticated enough bot, some AI options might be available as well.

It’s most assuredly not Twitter or Facebook who are purposefully hosting or selling these bots. They are fake accounts being created and run by algorithms. But it’s impossible to know which ones are truly fake and which ones are real people, unless of course the programming is really bad.

Mostly people just use them to pad their stats with fake followers. Some have been used to spam hashtags and/or clickbait. Some more sophisticated ones have been used to actively respond the very the moment a preselected high profile target has posted a tweet to ensure maximum exposure of the message. As much as he thinks otherwise, Devin is not a high profile target.

There is some auditing software that can theorize based on tweet activity to see if an account is a bot, or if an account is infested with a lot of bot followers but it’s not very reliable. As an example the last audit I’ve seen of Donald Trump’s twitter account showed it had over 24 million fake followers. To be fair, the same software says there is a 41% chance that my personal Twitter account is also a bot.

Twitter and Facebook do run continuous bot sweeps; but over the hundreds of millions, and in Facebook’s case, billions of accounts, it’s a never ending process that takes awhile to cycle through. Ironically when someone’s account is swept of bots, they usually complain that it’s social media being politically biased and messing with their follower counts because of some conspiracy or whatever.

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Woops!

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Free speech is one of the most fundamental parts about being an American. It’s a right that almost no other country in the world recognizes as such; especially not to the extent we do. Speaking our mind in any situation is what we are all about.

Parody exists for this exact purpose. Parody of public officials is a tradition that goes back to the days of Ancient Rome and probably earlier than that. It’s the public keeping the politician in check and reminding him he/she works for us.

Sometimes it’s brutal. Sometimes it’s over the top. Sometimes it’s light hearted. However you feel about free expression, it it’s a civil and constitutional right, so deal with it.

Devin needs to grow some thick skin if he plans on surviving this game, especially in the age of Trump. The internet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and if thinks he can sue his way into some regulation he is sorely mistaken.

There is an easy solution to Devin’s little problem, but apparently he can’t help himself. He’s probably addicted to the drama.