The Social Media Intelligence Unit (SMIU), a project of non-profit organisation Alliance4Europe, has published new research identifying intrusion into the global Black Lives Matter movement.
The “Society Burning: Tactical Assessment” that organised actors are using social media to paint a picture of “Marxist subversion of the American dream” by the protest group in order to generate support for the re-election campaign of US President Donald Trump.The SMIU monitors social media across platforms, creating actionable insights from millions of interactions each day, with the aim of creating a more inclusive democracy and countering disinformation and hate speech. The tactical assessment is an extensive topical publication by SMIU, led by a group of specialist analysts with skills ranging from technical to source intelligence handling.
Managing Director of Alliance for Europe, Omri Preiss, said: “The SMIU’s focus is on real-time actionable insights which can be used to amplify civil society voices online. We saw a necessity to publish our findings more widely in order to hopefully spark some positive action to redress this in the US and in Europe. This is a global conversation with impact and relevance for democracy the world over including in Europe. Our goal is to create a more inclusive democratic debate and counter disinformation and hate speech.” The report highlights a distortion in public perception caused by social media, which can make the success of campaigns appear larger than they are in reality. Black Lives Matter has managed to spark protests in 4,140 cities, drawing in engaged activists.
Despite its transformative nature and success in mobilising for justice and inclusion on the streets, Black Lives Matter is being effectively attacked online. BLM is significantly outperformed among Facebook’s 2.6 billion users in terms of both audience size and interaction rates.James Patrick, SMIU’s specialist who authored the report said: “Influential conservative campaigns, including Trump 2020, are still using Facebook to seed, reinforce, and electorally capitalise upon public support amongst the demographics which are less likely to protest but more likely to vote. They are pushing the “Marxism” message. Offline conversations show that this strategy is succeeding in changing minds, even in a landscape where this should be unlikely to succeed. Black Lives Matter is also successfully being painted as a “Marxist take-over” of the USA by Trump surrogates, though this narrative tactic dates back to the alt-right campaign against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats which was in operation between 2016 and 2018.”The report highlights, for example, that a single post of President Trumps could have been amplified to over 46 million Americans due to the algorithmic functions, even though it only received 46,000 comments.
Deeper technical analysis by SMIU’s Task Force dip sampled 1.1 million tweets, focusing on Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and the accelerationist group Bugaloo Boys. This sampling showed that accounts featuring #MAGA in their profiles were more openly politicising Black Lives Matter, using it as a wedge issue to encourage Trump voters. Fake antifa accounts including Amish Antifa and Kekistan Antifa make appearances in the network analysis, along with Qanon conspiracy networks posting child sex trafficking conspiracies, linking the Epstein scandal with the Clintons.According to the report, Antifa activists have been “taking a reactive approach to right wing media news cycles in an immediate and focused way allowed the group to successfully build on, manipulate, and grow trends in such a way as to dominate the algorithmically boosted conversation.”
The tactical assessment warns that the Black Lives Matter movement is being used as an Influence Operations battleground on a number of levels, from grassroots groups to major political campaigns.SMIU’s specialist James Patrick said: “The strategists behind the right-wing campaign recognised at an early stage it would be easy to drive a wide wedge through scrutiny and opposition by adopting the approach of being unbound to one narrative, not adhering to a single set of rules, and to not persisting with any given operation for a prolonged period. “Pivot” became the central tactical pillar and was combined with flooding the information landscape with a shrapnel made of nonsense to occupy resources.”