Why Russia’s Targeting of Black Social Media Users Is Troubling

The recent Senate Intelligence Committee Report has exposed just how deeply invested Russia was in sowing hate, discourse, and doubt in…

Why Russia’s Targeting of Black Social Media Users Is Troubling

The recent Senate Intelligence Committee Report has exposed just how deeply invested Russia was in sowing hate, discourse, and doubt in American voters. But there was one group that got some “extra special love and attention” in the years and final months leading up to 45 being elected. Guess who was special?

Black people! Black people! Black people!

Russia’s disinformation campaign spent more effort before, during, and after the election of Donald Trump creating fake websites, spreading Pro-Black and anti-Hillary propaganda on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter geared toward discouraging Blacks than any other ethnic group.

The Russians know America’s national divides better than we do apparently. The entire world knows Blacks are hated in America. Russians know it so well they can fool both White and Black people using racist propaganda created by Russians hands.

The gist of the report (to me anyway) is that social media can’t even be trusted to protect Black people. The Black Lives Matter Movement was hijacked using social media. We have people gunning for us inside of the country, outside of the country via online trickery and propaganda. If a foreign nation could use Facebook to trick Black folks into liking, following, joining groups, and spreading misinformation for the sole purposes of upholding White supremacy while misleading Black voters.

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We Black people were used as assets to spread propaganda. Black people are spreading propaganda to other Black people created by Russians, other international bad actors and racist White Americas (it’s an inside job too).

Black people, it’s time for you to stop taking the internet lightly. The internet as we know it is as dangerous to Black people as the Proud Boys, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Alt-Right. The owners and CEOs of these social media companies have no desire to ensure what’s shared on their sites are real, safe, non-threatening, without malice or racism and is properly vetted and sourced. Especially since it’s free.

We need to evaluate our support of free social media platforms. Blacks are being exploited, used, and harmed and we are saying it’s okay with us when we continue to use these platforms after we find out they don’t give a shit about folks using trickery and propaganda to shape an election that’s not in our best interest. America has

We absolutely must do better Black people.

Russian Used Black Pride and Racism to Trick Blacks

Black pride and empowerment memes co-mingled with subliminal messaging were used by Russian troll factories in order to sway our political choices and insight hate for White people. Just like White people were trolled with Black and immigrant memes, videos and bullshit, Black folks were spammed and pro-Black propaganda and little truisms about Clinton, the DNC, and America, planting seeds of doubt and fear in our already suspicious communities.

Russians bamboozled Black people, and this violation should be treated like a five-alarm fire. No amount of free social media entertainment is worth truth. Nothing or no one should have such power to persuade. We need to do a better job of controlling what we see, what we digest for the edification of our minds, and we need to do a better job of understanding the impact over every social media like, every share, every comment, or every join.

Silence, or continued usage in this case which acts as silence, a co-sign by Black people.

It’s a sign that we will fall for anything, and do nothing. I don’t want that label associated with my Black card. I work hard at consuming information, staying engaged, and understanding systems to help educate all people, but especially Black people. I do it for the very reason we’re reading about in the Senate Intel Report.

The Selling of Our Black Souls For Entertainment

Is entertaining yourself that important? We have a serious problem with our relaxed attitudes regarding selling our souls for the sole purpose of being entertained for free, and we need to address it.

Just because something is free doesn’t mean it’s good for you! Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are proving, again and again, they are not good for us. There are no internet police. No one is coming to save us. So why aren’t we saving ourselves (and our minds)?

I can remember seeing a lot of those memes on Facebook along with all the violent police beating and killing videos and feeling overwhelmed. It was one of the main reasons I stopped frequenting Facebook prior leading up to the election of Donald Trump. I was very uncomfortable with all the things coming across my news feed, and there were some people who would share any and everything without filtering it.

Because I’m pretty meticulous about where and how I get my info, I began to unfollow my small cadre of Facebook friends and began using filters to stop some the Pro-Black nonsensical memes and violent videos. Some of my Black friends were relentless with sharing what now has been determined to be the Black propaganda, even after gentle notices about not being tricked. Obama even gave us a gentle warning (as best he could anyway) about Russian interference, and Black people still ignored it.

The Black man gave Black people a stern by subtle warning about what time it was, and most people chose to trust social media over the government warning. We need to look inward and change our habits. It’s not likely in our lifetime to have such a transparent leader, and it doesn’t appear our needs and interests will ever be addressed appropriately by America.

Knowing this it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive. Social media is not a necessity. It’s a frivolous luxury that provides no nutritional value, and we communicated without it for a couple of hundred years just fine. We need to get back to the basics. Call people, go visit friends, and hand write letters and cards. Video call if distance is a barrier. Print photos and send them, or email them to the people you want to see them. Read books. Go to the library. Join a local Meetups group.

Besides, how many people on social media are really your friends and family anyway? Is being tricked by Russians or some other foreign government worth access to social media.

Not to me.

The Media and Social Media’s Role in Electing Trump

The media continued to support Trump’s racist bullshit by giving him a platform to sow his seeds of hate. Every new organization showed 24-hour highlights of the most absurd things claimed by Trump daily. Anything to get clicks and drive traffic. Hate and violence sell which is why it’s inescapable today. Unfortunately, we all have been conditioned to be moved by it, especially hate and violence related to racism towards Blacks. The media knows it. The trolls understand it.

America’s seeds of hate that needed very little watering and fertilization to stimulate growth. It’s always there, just a few inches beneath the surface. It just needed the right type of fertilizer to bring it back to life.

In comes treasonous Trump and the Russians with the buckets of manure for America.

The Russians knew they could easily buy the money hungry Trumps (yet to be revealed fully). They also knew many White people were ready to whiten up the White House with a White man. Obama made it too Brown and Black in D.C. for too long. And we all know Black is bad…so that cloud needed to move. It needed to be pushed out by a White man. Any white man. A racist man. A man who could stroke the ego of Whiteness, privilege, segregation, putting all their excessive fears about the browning of America to rest. Because that’s White America’s security blanket. A White man.

Keeping us divided keeps Whiteness in power.

A New Kind of Shackle, A New Kind of Slavery - Entertainment

Most Black people have new types of shackles for a new type of slavery. No longer are Black people held against their will, forced to work for free, told what to do, beaten, raped, and killed.

Today, our minds are enslaved. Black people sadly are now addicted to entertainment, news that evokes emotions (i.e. police beatings, racist behavior in public, sensational trials, etc.), stories that pull out the meat, leaving the potatoes for trash, and sadly memes and photos. I know the same applies to Whites, but this piece is not for them. I’m addressing specifically how we were used by Russians, so if you’re reading this and offended because it’s focused on Blacks please take a step back and take yourself out of the equation. Russians spent more time tricking Blacks, not Whites.

Marketers, researchers, foreign governments, and big data have peeped Black internet and social media usage habits which allowed us to be exploited. It’s time to switch it up. Get off of social media. Our inability to let go and continued usage says a lot about us. Our silence about the lack of protection is also quite telling to those who continue to abuse us because they believe we are weakest.

It says we will fall for anything as long as we can use something for free.

What We Need To Do

We need to read the newspaper (hard copies), and be mindful new popup sources may be click bait. We need to read more books, go to the library, get a library card. Follow politics, and not just your side…all sides. Learn how policies and politics impact you personally. Get info from more reliable sources, and don’t believe everything your friends share. Friends don’t send bad friends bad/fake content. Doing so poisons minds and taints hearts.

Stop sharing shit on social media if we haven’t sourced it ourselves. It’s probably time to dump Facebook and Twitter and decrease our level of activity/dependency on other social media sites as sources of entertainment. You only need food, water, shelter and good companionship to survive. You won’t die if you stop using social media. Trust me. You’ll feel better and you’ll have much more time on your hands

We need to find new ways to entertain ourselves. Get back to the basics. Go out with friends for dinner and have real conversations. Watch television. Join a social club. Take day trips, discover something new.

Stop reading Russian stories and Russian memes on Facebook and Twitter. Be suspicious of everything, YouTube included. Stop consuming so much racist stuff if it’s not followed up with an action (i.e. mobilizing interventions, protests, advocacy, etc.). Social media has shown us time and time again it can’t be trusted with all things us, and it’s a fire starter rarely offering tangible solutions.

One final thing. While it’s important to discuss social justice issues and video context that often goes along with high profile and viral stories, we must be careful so not to give any aid to hackers attempting to sway voters or social media consumers. We don’t know why some foreign government wants us all roweled up and angry at White people. We don’t even know if the stories we discuss in our personal and social commentaries would be viral and noteworthy if perhaps some evil foreign-entity hadn’t worked hard to make sure they reach the top of the search engines or picked up by some naive journalist.

We must be wary now of everything. We know the media is biased, so this just adds one more level of distrust to an already shaky relationship.

The NAACP boycotted Facebook yesterday, which in my opinion was useless, but I suppose an attempt to bring attention to the problem is better than nothing at all. Think about this, the NAACP for years did its work without social media and got the word out just fine.

I personally believe instead of encouraging short-term social media behavior modification for Blacks, we should be encouraged to unplug altogether. I mean like what the hell are we going to miss? Did someone go on a trip? Had a baby? Got a boo? Dumped a boo? Got a new car? Their kid started school and you gotta see the new school clothes for seven-straight days? It’s useless information wasting our good brain cells.

Facebook gives us nothing (literally). They sell our information, pimping us like human traffickers. The same people who own Facebook own Instagram and Whatsapp. They clearly aren’t going to change their behavior, so why are we still willing to use their shit. We share our photos and they share our real personal information.

Because we’re addicted. We need to get off the social media crack.

We are nothing more than another American consumer, and Black people are being treated as such. Black people should find it odd and troubling that Russians and other foreign governments believe America’s racist divides and Black pride are a valuable tool for psychological warfare efforts created to undermine our democracy.

America will never secure the support needed to develop and enact stricter social media regulations, laws, policies and safeguards that includes protecting our basic civil rights if policymakers and Black people are unaware of the of foreign-government sponsored propaganda.

We can no longer trust social media to protect our basic civil rights or protect us from propaganda. Nor should we expect them to get it. The people that run Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Google aren’t Black, so expect the same White apathy from these businesses that we get when one of us goes missing, when we’re harassed at the pool, when our civil rights are violated, when we’re killed by cops, or when our children are hurried along in the school to prison pipelines by White supremacy and act accordingly.

Nothing is sacred and nothing is safe.

If you’re going to use the internet and social media, just know we have a new White adversary. It’s still Whiteness, it’s just Russian Whiteness. The new invisible enemies are using the same old tactics they’ve used for centuries to stay in power (like mis-education, trickery, illusions, divisiveness, and fear). If you’re still willing to use social media, be aware you have no control over what you see, nor do you fully understand what’s being down with the information collected by studying how we engage via comments, likes, private messaging, and sharing.

People a world away have used America’s playbook against us, a new low in our never-ending fight against racism.

The habitual line stepping by racist won’t stop inside or outside of America until we make it stop. The powers that be count on us doing nothing. So far, their counting is spot on.

Marley K., 2018