Received a letter from <loved one> this week. Two pages. Emailed as a “pages” document. Referencing more conspiracy theories than one could count (because they’re all so intertwined). Read like a manifesto. Last week he asked if we <his relatives> need advice for buying guns. :(
Manifesto included: Biden…senile…his handlers…a cabal of Marxists from Chicago/DC…globalist…Covid-infected immigrants…mandating CRT…defunding police…Deep-State collusion…stolen election. And that’s just page 1, BEFORE he gets into the China stuff.
Fortunately, he’s not mobile, so we’re not worried about violence. But jeez, this toxic propaganda is pervasive. No way to unwind all that.
Also, this is a person who does not use social media. Just Fox News, Epoch Times (which miraculously started appearing at his door in 2016), and email lists. Some Googling of things he sees on Fox News. And reading of books promoted there.

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More from @katestarbird

13 Sep
Instead of holding high profile superspreaders of problematic content accountable (and giving their hyper-visible content more scrutiny), FB has been protecting them:…
From the WSJ: "Facebook recognized years ago that the enforcement exemptions granted by its XCheck system were unacceptable, with protections sometimes granted to what it called abusive accounts and persistent violators of the rules, the documents show."
WSJ: "FB has asked fact-checking partners to retroactively change their findings on posts from high-profile accounts, waived standard punishments for propagating what it classifies as misinformation and even altered planned changes to its algorithms to avoid political fallout."
Read 4 tweets
10 Sep
As one of the research teams working on this data… this isn’t the first error in the data, but this one is egregious. How do we build research on top of these opaque data — having lost trust in their curation?
We’re currently working on our final paper and report. The original student has long since graduated (due to delays in accessing the data to begin with). Do we re-run the analyses and rewrite the paper (after our funding has run out)? Or just return a blank PDF?
I’m worried about having the student waste time with another analysis that isn’t publishable because we can’t trust the data underneath. But there’s so much work already invested. Ugh.
Read 4 tweets
8 Aug
This is my grandfather’s (Alfred Dodd Starbird's) team sweater and running singlet from the 1936 Olympics. He finished 7th in the Modern Pentathlon. A German won gold, but the U.S. team would have won the team competition (finishing 2nd, 7th, 9th). Image
I learned today that the events of the Modern Pentathlon (running, swimming, fencing, pistol, equestrian) were chosen to simulate the feats of a 19th century cavalry solider fighting behind enemy lines.
A few years ago, when my parents had to move to an elder living facility, I inherited a box of family memorabilia. I found these shirts inside that box, in a plastic bag which hadn’t managed to protect them completely from the moths. My wife helped me clean them up & frame them.
Read 20 tweets
12 Jul
When I stopped by to see him, my <loved one> explained that he turned down my invitation to visit tonight b/c he needed to watch “the last speech by Trump before he could go to jail”. Later, he expressed confusion when I said there were videos of violence against police on 1-6.
All he does is watch “news” all day. How could he live in such a vastly different reality? I showed him a few videos of January 6 and he was so confused.
My <loved one> asked about my work and I explained how we were helping people see how content reached them, using the Seth Rich conspiracy theory as an example. <Loved one> pivoted the conversation w/ something about “redactions" & how that theory just might be true after all.
Read 6 tweets
20 Jun
For a 10th birthday my <loved one> gave my <loved one> 3 gifts: a small U.S. flag, pocket Constitution, & Ben Carson's biography, Gifted Hands. Any of these would be fine alone. Together, they reveal structural patterns & psychological effects of long-term exposure to propaganda.
On the same day, for an upcoming birthday, same <loved one> also gifted two copies of “Unrestricted Warfare” to two adults with upcoming birthdays. (I already received mine a few weeks ago.)
Current book on their mantle, for those interested in following whatever toxic Amazon/Fox News recommendations are guiding their choices: “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t"
Read 4 tweets
18 Jun
Can’t they come up with anything new? This is almost exactly the same as the conspiracy theories about the Boston Marathon bombings that claimed they were a “false flag” orchestrated by “black ops” elements within the U.S. government. See our 2014 paper:…
We wrote two follow up papers that covered that conspiracy theory with more depth and from different angles:……
Here’s a tweet, posted less than a day after the Boston Marathon bombings, that contains the same core claim:
Read 4 tweets

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