In Part Eight, we drilled down into the thicket of user_descriptions that had MAGA, KAG, and Trump in them while also engaging in Canadian election discourse on Twitter. The conclusion, though bleak, bears repeating, as it speaks to the overlapping legitimate activities intermixing with actions and platform features that pose deep threats to the future of democratic discourse online.
“It is easy to spiral out of control into this data. It leads many directions, has numerous causes, each worm hole feels bottomless, and findings really cannot be reduced to a table, a visualization, an algorithm, or, apparently, eight blog posts.”
Yet that appears to be the point. It may be less about pulling a social media lever to change the outcome of a vote and more about creating currents of uncertainty and cynicism about the flow of information critical for the survival of democratic societies. If it is a worm hole by design, we need to keep asking about the technological affordances of the platform that enable and encourage the most destructive behavior.
More on Those MAGA Folks
The 83 exact duplicates in set discussed in Part Eight are dominated by #MAGA, #KAG, and #WWG1WGA. #KAG stands for “Keep America Great” and is President Trump’s 2020 campaign slogan.
#WWG1WGA is the motto “where we go one, we go all” used by many QAnon movement participants. “QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory detailing a supposed secret plot by an alleged “deep state” against U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters.”
Additional keyword exploration in the 11,743 items:
- MAGA turns 9,190 results. MAGA2020 returns 170 results.
- KAG returns 3,264 results; KAGA returns 51 results. KAG2020 returns 588 results; KAGA2020 returns 14 results.
- Trump returns 2,979 results. Trump2020 returns 1,625 results; “Trump 2020” returns 271 results.
- Conservative returns 1,997 results.
- WWG1WGA returns 1,466 results. “Where we go one, we go all” returns 8 results.
- Patriot returns 1,259 results.
- NRA returns 1,206 results.
- QAnon returns 674 results.
- Other recurrent keywords: christian (1,127), catholic (178), AmericaFirst (437), “America First” (111), Brexit (232), #TheGreatAwakening (107), “The Great Awakening” (23), #BuildThatWall (27), “build that wall” (124), TrudeauMustGo (158), MCGA (371).
Other points of some interest:
- “Anti” returns 216 results, and is combined with keywords such as guns, Trump, Trudeau, deep state, EU, fascist, and globalist.
- The flag emoji 🇨🇦 is in 152 user_descriptions whereas 🇺🇸 is in 1,651.
- There is an unusually large percentage of hashtagged user_descriptions.