back to article 'Influencer' gets 7 months in prison for plot to interfere with 2016 US election

Nearly 5,000 people sent in an SMS "voting" for Hillary Clinton after a man the US Office of Public Affairs characterized as a "social media influencer" promoted it as an option. According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), Douglass Mackey, who is also known as Ricky Vaughn, was this week sentenced to seven months in prison …

  1. BartyFartsLast Bronze badge

    Who was it who said "accuse the enemy of which you are guilty" (or words to that effect)?

    They see election fraud everywhere and then get convicted of election tampering etc

    Really makes you wonder how they came up with Pizzagate etc...

    1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

      Goebbels. Not sure if he was the first but he was a big advocate of it. And once again, there's a lot of it about...

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      It's always projection with conservatives.


    3. Filippo Silver badge

      It's a difficult world. You can make major commitments from home in a matter of minutes. Voters get informed about everything immediately, and expect an instantaneous response. In general, the delay between information, decision, and effect is getting shorter, which means less time to think about decisions. That's exploitable.

      Personally, I've found a few anchor points that, I believe, help me staying away from the worst bullshit.

      1) Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. No exceptions. If you don't believe in this, even for one single individual, then you might as well save time and start the dictatorship now, because that's the only endgame of that line of thinking.

      2) If a politician, blogger, journalist, or any other influencer, is trying to get you angry about something, be extremely suspicious. Angry is a state that's extremely vulnerable to manipulation. An angry person can be made to do whatever you want. If you hate someone, do not trust that hate. Let it go if you can, keep it if you can't, but never trust it to help you make a decision.

      3) Information from unofficial sources about official matters is untrustworthy. It might be good enough for pub talk. If you have to actually make a decision based on it, track down an official source and verify.

      4) Anyone who you don't know personally and who contacts you via untraceable means is a scammer. Sadly, technical means now exist to pose effectively as someone you know, so I may have to revise this to anyone who contacts you via untraceable means, period.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "3) Information from unofficial sources about official matters is untrustworthy. "

        The last ~4 years has shown that information from official sources is also untrustworthy. Even just in the last week. The mainstream media's only goal is outrage as it drives viewer count. News stopped being news 20+ years ago and is now 24hr opinion.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Entertainment networks are not news, even if they have "news" in their title

          Fox went to court to prove that (it lost in virtually every country outside the USA, which is why it's not on broadcast media most places) and to prove that cable channels are not broadcast media in the USA (therefore not being regulated by the FCC)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            A court also ruled that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is opinion and not news.

        2. Filippo Silver badge

          Oh, I consider MSM as unofficial too. "Official" in this case would be the electoral commission's website. The guys who actually do the job. I mean, one of the nice things about the Internet is that I can often get the information I need straight from the source, so why should I even need to worry about whether I can trust an intermediary or not? The newspaper or news website is useful to know that an issue exists, and to figure out what the interesting points are, but to get the data I'm going to base a decision on, such as how to vote? Primary source or nothing.

          Btw, the mainstream media's goal is viewer count, with the preferred tool being outrage. So is the niche media's goal. So is the fringe media's goal. So is the social media influencer's goal. That's why I suggest only taking primary sources as decision drivers, and why I started my earlier comment with "it's a difficult world".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Sadly most people want the information spoon fed to them rather than doing the leg work. Heck, we've been told not to 'do our own research' as that is dangerous. Just suckle on the 24hr news and constant drip of social media. And from this is born the midwit.


            1. Filippo Silver badge

              Okay, but that article is talking about highly technical fields, where you can't literally do your own research, e.g. medicine. How am I going to 'do my own research' on the impact of fluoridating tap water? Ask a thousand randomly-selected strangers in ten states to let me check their teeth?

              I'm being cheeky there, but the article explains the problem properly. You can't do your own medical research (or nuclear, or climate, or...), you just can't, but you can fool yourself into thinking you are, when what you're actually doing is googling for anything that reinforces your gut feeling. That attitude is very, very easily exploitable for clicks & votes.

              What you can do is research for yourself what the expert consensus majority opinion is, and then go with that. It's not as good as having the primary sources, but it beats self-reinforcement of gut feelings. Manipulating expert consensus takes serious resources; manipulating gut feelings takes a kid in a basement.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Those are some pretty good wheels on that movable goalpost :) I didn't doubt that your original claim came with a hefty caveat or two.

                The last 4 years has shown that 'experts' spout what they have been told to say by their paymasters and 'consensus' can have zero basis in logic, fact or science and is all about feelings and pandering to the baying mob.

                1. Filippo Silver badge

                  I commented an article linked by someone else (you, I guess?), so I don't understand what goalpost I'd be moving. It was a first response, there was no goalpost.

                  The article just says that if you think you're "doing your own research" on, I dunno, climate or vaccines or whatever, by watching Youtube videos and reading blog posts, you're fooling yourself. That is not doing research. It just isn't. It is not better than just listening to an expert on MSM. They are all secondary sources anyway.

                  You don't, and can't, have any primary source on those topics (unless your job is in a lab and on that field), so all you're doing is choosing which secondary source you like best. You think MSM sources are corrupt? Okay, but do you really think the niche sources aren't? Why on Earth would you think that, when their primary driver is visibility? And fringe sources? They get money from ad impressions. If that's not exploitable, I don't know what is.

                  You've decided which secondary source you trust, fine, good for you, everyone needs to do that and it's a difficult world. Don't kid yourself into calling it "doing research".

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Who were the primary sources for Covid?

                    Dr Fauci? UN? Trump? Biden? BoJo? TikTok nurses? Pfizer? 'peer reviewed' papers sponsored by NIH etc.? The media?

                    Or was it the doctors risking everything by going against the above list and being threatened with having their licenses revoked?

                    Time will tell.

                    Same goes for the goings on in Ukraine and Gaza/Israel. Certainly in the latter case I don't think there is a single authoritative source as both sides want to rile up the general populace as much as possible to justify what they are doing.

                    Anyone saying 'don't do your own research, listen to us' has a vested interest in making you listen.

                    1. Filippo Silver badge

                      >Who were the primary sources for Covid?

                      Any epidemiologist who had access to the raw data. There were conflicting opinions between epidemiologists. Pick the ones you like better. Don't call that "doing research". It's just picking.

                      I have a funny anecdote, though. I do have formal training in statistics, and I've even done some work in computational biology. I also happen to live in Italy, about ten minutes drive from the first town in Europe to be locked down, and an hour or so from the spots where they'd actually run out of coffins shortly thereafter. Obviously, everything was being shared, so we didn't have better data than the rest of the world, but we did pay a whole lot more attention to it and the stats were published daily.

                      I wouldn't call myself qualified by any stretch, but at some point in the very, very early stages of the pandemic (death count was in the 10s per day) I tried my hand at building a simple computer model of how many people it would kill without lockdowns. The numbers it spat out were so unbelievably bad, something like a hundred thousand by the end of April, that I chuckled and assumed I just wasn't good enough to build an epidemic model that was worth anything.

                      And so, I got scared shitless the following week, when my prediction for death count that Sunday matched the official number to within 1% error. They announced lockdowns on the following day, because obviously someone had shown Zaia the same numbers I had. At that point people were starting to get scared for real, and I was afraid someone would flip out if I showed them a projection for Easter, so I didn't dare show my work to anyone until two weeks later, when the lockdown effect started and the real numbers started to diverge quickly.

                      I still wouldn't call that "doing research" in the sense of creating solid information I can base decisions on, but it was a funny anecdote, in retrospect at least.


                      >Same goes for the goings on in Ukraine and Gaza/Israel.

                      Sure, why not? But unless you are going there and looking at the craters with your own eyes, you are not "doing research". I have a personal friend who is from Ukraine, and my wife has relatives in Israel, and talking to them is still not "doing research". They can provide anecdotes at best. The pandemic? Everyone here personally knows someone who was directly involved, I have so many first-hand accounts on that. Still anecdotes.

                      YouTube video by some guy? Not even an anecdote.

                      >Anyone saying 'don't do your own research, listen to us' has a vested interest in making you listen.

                      The Forbes article isn't saying don't do research, it's saying don't fool yourself into thinking that cherry-picking news sources is doing research. It is not. You are just picking who to listen to. That's fine, but it's not research.

                      I'm not saying don't do that, I'm not saying don't pick an opinion you like and base decisions on that. We all do it. We have to make decisions, it's a difficult world, and it beats flipping a coin. Just don't call it 'doing research', don't pretend you're better informed than someone who picked some other opinion. Spending five hours watching YouTube videos does not give you more authority than anyone who just watches MSM.

                      By all means go do your own research if you can, that's awesome when you can (even if it can sometimes get a bit scary). But you most likely can't, not because there's any conspiracy to stop you, but because it's a specialist job.

                      1. imanidiot Silver badge

                        If I'm going to pick a standpoint/"opinion" on something based on actually finding data, reading research papers, understanding what experts are saying, etc (even if that's by watching youtube videos of some of the wild variety of excellent actual experts making youtube video content), then I'm very definitely going to feel superior and better prepared in my standpoints than someone who picked his opinion based on some rando on Farcebook shouting that "they're trying to murder us by making us wear face diapers".

                        Your definition of "doing research' and "picking an opinion you like" are FAR too black and white. You assume ANY position or standpoint is fine, you even seem to presume that standing by that standpoint in the face of overwhelming evidence (gathered by experts in their field) is just fine and dandy since "you've picked an opinion". I'm willing to change my opinion, but you'd better come with reputable evidence because by and large I know the sources of mine.

                        Doing your own research doesn't necessarily mean gathering your own research data, doing a meta-study of existing reference material, data sets and expert opinion is ALSO research. Stating that people shouldn't strive to understand what (and why) an expert is telling them is stupid. That's NOT a specialist job and telling anyone and everyone they should just "trust the experts" and not do any investigating of their own to understand the issue is exactly why we see such a proliferation of so called "experts" who aren't worthy of any such moniker and are actually more the antithesis of such.

                        The only thing I agree with is: "don't fool yourself into thinking that cherry-picking news sources is doing research". Mostly because "news" nowadays isn't a source for anything. Journos seem to have somehow all gotten a collective messiah complex and thing they're the all-knowing fond of ultimate truth, when the reality is that journalists and "news" articles are probably 3rd rate sources at best. Anything with 'news' in the name or written by someone with the job title "journalist" or "reporter" should be considered suspect and smelly.

                        1. Filippo Silver badge

                          >Your definition of "doing research' and "picking an opinion you like" are FAR too black and white.

                          I'm sorry for oversimplifying, but this is a message board thread, not an essay. It's also veered off the original point, which was around voting procedures, so not exactly something where you can have an opinion - "you can vote by SMS" is either true or false. In that context, I said that you should go to the official electoral bureau's website, and trust what's written there over anything anyone else says, and I stand by that position.

                          The current point started with AC posting a Forbes article (on science, not on legislation) and interpreting it as "don't do your own research and always accept experts at face value", when what the article actually said was (and, again, oversimplifying a bit) "watching YouTube videos will not make you better qualified than an expert". I was attempting to clarify this.

                          >Stating that people shouldn't strive to understand what (and why) an expert is telling them is stupid.

                          Right, which is why I'm not saying that, and neither was the Forbes article. Interpreting the point like that, that is needlessly black and white. There's a vast gulf between "I'll just do what the news guy says" and "my 'research' based on Googling around is as valid as the expert consensus, if not more so".

                          "I've Googled around and I think I understand what the expert consensus is saying, and I also found a few convincing niche positions; I like some of them but I am wary of confirmation bias; this is a specialist topic, therefore I can't have a 100% reliable position and I'll need to be aware of that" is a pretty good base to make decisions on.

                      2. Erik Beall

                        The religion of confirmation bias

                        Filippo, that was an excellent discourse, well done. Many people who argue like anonymous coward believe "picking confirmatory _literally anything in print_ is equivalent to doing research". There are certainly scientists and businesspeople who fall for confirmation bias, heck we all do pretty regularly, but it's tempered by some awareness of it and humility of or opinions. The people who make a religion out of it of course are something else, thank you for trying to explain to one of them eloquently and patiently.

                        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                          Re: The religion of confirmation bias

                          "Many people who argue like anonymous coward believe "picking confirmatory _literally anything in print_ is equivalent to doing research"

                          It's not doing research at all. There was a sub-story in one of the Foundation books about a character doing research by reading the studies other people have done and then deciding which one of them was most convincing or just cherry picking conclusions.

                          To do research, you need data. If you aren't developing the data yourself, you need to know a lot about who did the collecting and their methodology before you can use it to make any conclusions on your own. So much of what we are presented with are just the conclusions with a preface like "official sources say" which has zero value. The difference between CNN and the CIA's (or MI6's) own people reporting on something is the veracity of the source rather than the data itself. The data can be exactly the same. Two artworks by a famous author can be worth vastly different amounts of money if one has provenance and the other doesn't.

                          I've seen so much sloppy lab work in my days that I'm suspicious of everything.

                      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

                        "I tried my hand at building a simple computer model of how many people it would kill without lockdowns. The numbers it spat out were so unbelievably bad, something like a hundred thousand by the end of April, that I chuckled and assumed I just wasn't good enough to build an epidemic model that was worth anything."

                        There are too many variables to consider for a simple model to be useful.

                        One of the problems with a lockdown are the exceptions. Not everybody can be locked down as people are needed to keep doing crucial tasks. What's the 'leakage' rate as those people WILL be transmission paths. 2m was considered a good separation to maintain between people when they would go out, but that measure was arbitrary and not appropriate for every situation. The whole "you can have sex, but kissing should be out" was one of the most incredibly stupid things I ever saw. Too bad I didn't keep a reference but I haven't done a research paper in years and I'm out of the need or habit.

                        A big problem with wearing masks is they aren't used properly since people aren't trained to use them and will constantly grab them from the front as they irritate their face thereby transferring anything on their hands to the front of the mask and vice versa. I made some observations, but didn't make counts. I can say that the vast majority of people were touching their masks frequently and it would be very hard to model that and the effects without a lot of detailed studies.

                    2. imanidiot Silver badge

                      "Or was it the doctors risking everything by going against the above list and being threatened with having their licenses revoked?"

                      For the vast, vast majority, No, it very definitely wasn't them.

                    3. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

                      "Who were the primary sources for Covid?"

                      That question, with the list that follows, shows a misunderstanding as to what the term "primary source" even means.

                      The question you really appear to be asking boils down to: Who was right about COVID?

                      "Time will tell", you say.

                      Time has told. The body count has told.

                2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  "The last 4 years has shown that 'experts' spout what they have been told to say by their paymasters and 'consensus' can have zero basis in logic, fact or science and is all about feelings and pandering to the baying mob."

                  We have also seen that people with the qualifications to be considered experts in the relevant field are being canceled/called out because what they are saying doesn't follow the "official" narrative that might have been conceived via a vote by a bunch of failed lawyers (aka, politicians).

      2. Mowserx


      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Sadly, technical means now exist to pose effectively as someone you know, so I may have to revise this to anyone who contacts you via untraceable means, period."

        You have to look at how those friends are contacting you. Why would a friend or family member "text" you if they suddenly needed money? Why wouldn't they call?

        A text from somebody you don't know is a scam. Anybody that "voted" for Hillary via SMS should be signed up for a full evaluation and not be allowed to vote until they are cleared. Obviously, they don't understand how it works and they are a danger to the rest of society.

    4. georgezilla

      Like with most things, they reach elbow deep up their asses and see what they pull out. And no matter how fucking stupid, hateful, fearful or xenophobic it is, they blow it up and run with it.

      Got to keep the moronic rubes fired up so that they can't see what is actually going on and important.

      They love them some stupid.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No election tampering here.

      Makes you worry about all those cheese pizza allegations

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Darwin in action

    What they should do is remove the people who texted the number from the voter registration as they are obviously far too stupid to actually vote.

    More seriously Kristina Wong, a lefty, tweeted out that Trump voters could vote by text or vote on Wednesday (the day AFTER the election) to skip the line. Nothing happened to her.

    1. Brian 3

      Re: Darwin in action

      Can it be suggested as election interference the day AFTER the election is over and done? Or perhaps it was a snarky snub at Trump's recounts and BS. Convicted of election interference / voter disenfranchisement, he can never run for public office as I recall.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Darwin in action

        She tweeted on election day. So it is election interference.

        1. BartyFartsLast Bronze badge

          Re: Darwin in action

          If it can be proven people tried to text to vote as a result of her tweet and it was on election day then yes, she should be prosecuted.

          For the person who gave the thumbs down, laws apply equally to everyone, people who make stupid jokes on twitter, people who intentionally try to influence elections, even ex presidents who commit criminal acts.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Darwin in action

            laws apply equally to everyone .....even ex presidents who commit criminal acts

            Do you have any evidence for that?

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Darwin in action

              Well there is *some* evidence for the proposition that laws apply equally to everyone.

              But I'll concede that there is less than one might hope for. :(

              1. Ideasource Bronze badge

                Re: Darwin in action

                Law only comes into play at points of enforcement.

                And since enforcement is spotty and often imperfect, the application of the law is highly individualized to specific circumstance and person.

                Law exists as codified idealism involving delusions of control that occasionally takes bites out of a larger world that continues to operate otherwise.

            2. georgezilla

              Re: Darwin in action

              91 criminal indictments across 4 jurisdictions, by 5 Grand Juries. Let's hope so.

              Found liable for sexual abuse in a civil case. A "University" and a "charity" closed because of fraud. Not allowed to do business, ever again in the State of New York and his business there in receivership after being found guilty of fraud and other things. Looks kind of like it does so far. And we will see what happens in Georgia and D.C. and again in NY.

              And then there are States that may not even allow him to be on their ballots come the Presidential Election in 2024. Which could possibly really fuck up his chance to get re-elected even if he could win.

              So yea, I'd call that "evidence" that it does. And we shall see on the 91 current outstanding indictments.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Darwin in action

                Not allowed to do business, ever again in the State of New York and his business there in receivership after being found guilty of fraud and other things

                Are you sure about that? I haven't really been keeping up, but I thought the idea was 'innocent until proven guilty', and that trial hadn't been completed yet? Let alone any appeal process. And if, by some small chance he's innocent and the court exceeded it's authority, how much will that cost the NY taxpayers?

                1. desht

                  Re: Darwin in action

                  > I thought the idea was 'innocent until proven guilty',

                  1) It's innocent *unless* proven guilty, and 2) this case is a civil case where the concepts of guilt and innocence don't apply. Trump has already been found *liable* for fraud in the state of New York, for which he could be permanently from doing business in the state in future.

                2. imanidiot Silver badge

                  Re: Darwin in action

                  AFAIK the judge has already decided that Trump is guilty of fraud and that he's going to receive an almighty legal spanking. The rest of the trial is just going to decide whether or not he ever going to be able to to sit down again afterwards or if he's going to get torn to shreds. (Source for this: LegalEagle - Trump Gets the Corporate Death Penalty (And It's Getting Worse))

                  1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                    Re: Darwin in action

                    Yes, and this is a bench trial, because the defense did not request a jury trial. The Trump Corporation was found guilty. Unless they can get that verdict reversed by a higher court, that's the end of the matter as far as guilt is concerned.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Darwin in action

          Where I grew up, if ANYONE tweets, posts or leaves an electoral sign up on election day it's a criminal offence

          Amongst other things it worked wonders for the littering problem seen in most countries

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Darwin in action

            This is what is nice about the UK. Election day = YOU MUST NOT TALK ABOUT THE ELECTION!

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Darwin in action

              I suppose that's true, for extremely small values of "nice".

            2. teebie

              Re: Darwin in action

              At the last election passed homeless people in the <1km walk to the polling station, which seemed like a comment on tory government, but is allowable under the rules

    2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Re: Darwin in action

      About 50% of the population have an IQ < 100. Their votes are worth the same as those of any highly stable geniuses out there.

      If you have an argument that says they shouldn't be, I'd love to hear how it's different from valuing votes differently based on place of residence, money/property, heredity, skin colour, religion, or any other suspect categorisation.

      Fraud doesn't get any less criminal for being less difficult.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Darwin in action

        "Their votes are worth the same as those of any highly stable geniuses out there."

        Unless they vote for the 'wrong' person. There was quite a lot of hate for those who voted for Trump, drove pickup trucks, lived in the country etc. Remember the 'basket of deplorables'? If a black person supported Trump they were called 'Uncle Tom' or other terms I can't write here, usually by white 'liberal' types who think they are morally and intellectually superior because they vote for the 'correct' person.

        If you didn't vote for 'our democracy' then you were a low information voter or some other derogatory term.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Darwin in action

          I have no doubt you are correct. However, there still a very large crowd of MAGAs doing exactly as you report even now, many still convinced that Biden "stole" the election on Trump is the "One True President".

          It's all rather sad how divisive it all is. Once the election is over forget about it and get back to living your life. Raging against your neighbour who voted differently from you isn't going to change anything.

          1. Ideasource Bronze badge

            Re: Darwin in action

            It's all rather silly.

            Every election is stolen.

            And the culprit is always the same.

            The electoral college.

            Every damn time there they are. Acting as distortion between the people's votes and who becomes president.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Darwin in action

              "And the culprit is always the same.

              The electoral college."

              The electoral college only applies to the election of the US President/Vice President. If it were strictly a popular votes, less than a dozen and maybe as few as six big cities would elect the President. Nobody that I've seen has come up with a better system that would work in the US. The number of electoral votes for each state is based on the population of that state so winning a very populace state garners more votes. That is tempered a bit by needing to win more than the largest or couple of largest cities in that state in most cases but that could use some work.

              In California there are 3 cities that determine the State's legislature: San Diego, Los Angeles and San Fransisco. That's for any candidate that isn't limited to a particular geographical area. In Georgia, if you don't win Atlanta, you lose.

              Somebody had posted a topographical map of votes between Hillary and Donald. While HR(C) won the popular vote, she didn't carry many voters outside of big cities. All of the big liberal cities were sharp spikes on the map and the vast amount of the country by land area were painted red (DT). There was some real fun made with the data. In parts of Los Angeles there seemed to be more voters than what the census records as residents (legal) of voting age. Not by just a little either.

              Even more important than elections being honest is that they are seen as being honest. Maybe what was being done at those vote counting locations after hours was perfectly legit, but it didn't look like it.

              1. Ideasource Bronze badge

                Re: Darwin in action

                Important to what within what limited context?

                nothing's important except relative to an intent.

                Without that intent and limited context described, I find my myself waiting for the partial idea to be completed so as to avoid assumption.

  4. tommy_qwerty

    Satire is now illegal in the US

    If you're stupid enough to be fooled by that meme, you shouldn't be voting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      1) it wasn't intended as satire, as it was specifically targeted at vulnerable voters, not to a private audience or to non-hillary voters.

      2) Those 4000 votes may go on to be wasted in other ways, but it's the persons right to VOTE that matters, not how much we agree with it. Everyone who has the right to vote has the right to waste it, or even to vote for a convicted fraud that will go on to wreck the country and later destroy that voters life.

      and 3) the really important one:

      Voter fraud is a crime, which this clown committed, and was convicted of. Convicting a criminal when their victims were idiots is pretty normal in our justice system.

      Note also that the clown in question's free speech wasn't impinged here. The clown in question is just paying the legal price for their illegal actions.

      If you missed that point see point 2) and maybe check if you have oversized shoes and a very round nose.

      1. Ideasource Bronze badge

        Matters to what?

        To a fuzzy comparison to an ideal?

        Or to a physical reality?

        In which case what physical reality

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Satire is now illegal in the US

      It crossed the line from being a meme with the deceptive claim to be funded by Hilary Clinton's campaign

      In a lot of places that alone is enough to bring criminal charges thanks to past instances of fake handbills/mailouts promulgated by one political entity to smear another

      (in a commercial context it's a combination of passing off and defamation - it's happened in various rivalries there too)

    3. Ideasource Bronze badge

      Re: Satire is now illegal in the US

      Everyone's born stupid, smart application is built on a mountain of mistakes.

      Every stupid person is x survived mistakes away from becoming smart.

      x is a local variable of the individual and should not be taken in a global context.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Florida man (no, not that one)

    Clickbait! I was expecting something about the best Florida man that there is! Trust me on that. SAD!

  6. FF22

    Orange man influencer

    If he got so much, I'm wondering how many thousand years the orange manchild influencer will get

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Orange man influencer

      I'll be really happy if I get to see him in an orange jumpsuit for at least a year.

      Because honestly, I don't give much credit to the US Justice system currently. The amount of bald-face lies that are spouted by people that are in positions of so-called responsibility without any repercussion is abysmal.

      I will be very happy to be proven wrong . . .

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Orange man influencer

        As long as it's not in Club Fed - Leavenworth is the usual residence for those on espionage act charges and there must not be an exception made

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey, the idiots who though building critical infrastructure on twitter just realized they are clowns

    They shouldn't have trusted Twitters lies under Dorsey, and "free forever and permanent" was always a transparent lie.

    Even when this company was a semi-well behaved startup it was obvious that government and public safety should have kept them at arms length.

    Instead both those groups caved to pressure from influencers who are now busy shilling fake vitamin cures and bad medical advice. When twitter underwent a campaign to convince people not to copy or embed tweets it should have been a deal breaker by itself. Instead only now after the rebranding madness are they started to admit the screw up.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      The internet is littered with the corpses of once-great social media sites which were sold on only for the new owners to attempt to heavily monetise their investment (ie: get some money back out of the thing)

      Users are a fluid bunch and advertisers paying up to "reach an audience" had better be bloody sure the audience actually wants to be reached, as they can become quite ornery and have zero hesitation in venting displeasure

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The MAGA faithful in DC went mad

    especially 'workout woman' (MTG).

    Don't worry people, this guy will become a darling of the far right, get on Hannity, RSB, NewsMax and could even be nominated as Speaker of the House.

    He will get lots of mulah once he gets out of clink and becomes their latest martyr just like Kyle Rittenhouse.

    That's the USA for you. It is all great points for my next Novel that documents the corruption and mega-grift of the whole GQP.

  9. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Why arent tv advertisements during elections also jailed for their significantly larger impact lies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      US election TV adverts are SO FUNNY compared to British ones.

      'Here is a party political election broadcast from the <whoever> party'

      Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      What about the lies during an election campaign?

      The SCOTUS (Supreme Court) ruled that is it a 1st Amendment right of Politicians to lie to voters.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: What about the lies during an election campaign?

        The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that there is no legal way of preventing politicians lieing in their adverts or punishing them for doing so

    3. Dimmer Silver badge

      And unsolicited text.

  10. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    You can't vote twice for a candidate in a single election

    If "Nearly 5,000 people sent in an SMS "voting" for Hillary Clinton" then this means that nearly 5,000 people would not have actually voted at all because they would think that they had already placed a vote. There were a lot of stupid social media related issues floating around in that election with quite a bit of indication that it was all influence by countries outside the USA.

  11. Tron Silver badge

    Voting by text? Seriously?

    Does America even have an education system any more? Don't they cover how to vote? Pro Tip: Putting your hand up and posting on Facebook don't count either.

    Given that you need millions of dollars to run, the President can act like an absolute monarch on a range of issues with decrees and the Republicans have broken half the US government by being unable to elect their own leader, there may be other flaws to investigate in what is still amusingly seen as part of a democratic process. Flaws that are way more important than amateur scammers online, but which are just accepted as part of the process.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Voting by text? Seriously?

      Voting procedures and requirements in the US vary by state, and the states have been enthusiastic about changing them frequently over the past couple of decades. There's been much clamor over the possibility of online voting from home, as well as the unending battles over "absentee" voting (submitting a ballot by mail) and who's allowed to do it. It's not surprising that some people would believe SMS voting was real, and the willingness of a number of commentators to blame them for that mistake just demonstrates a littleness of mind.

  12. Arty Effem

    So all one had to do was send an unvalidated text? All he has done is to expose widespread gullibility.

    1. teebie

      "All he has done is to expose widespread gullibility."

      He has exposed widespread gullibility *and* denied 5000 people their right to vote. It's the second one he is being punished for.

  13. Grunchy Silver badge

    That was a pretty good trick though

    But it’s really true, in 2024 you can text “Krusty” to 59925 to vote for the clown (or whichever other clown you intend to support.)

    You don’t even need to be American! You can even vote King Charles if that’s Your Fancy.

  14. Amos Burton

    Charlie Sheen fan?

    How lovely that his nom de plume is Charlie Sheen’s character from the Series of baseball movies (Major League, Major League II) that he did way back in the day- Jaysus Christ, that was 1989.

  15. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Sheesh, Reg!

    "The election, for those struggling to recall, produced the famous shock political outcome where former Wrestlemania star and failed hotelier Donald Trump won on the Republican ticket against then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was the Democratic nominee."

    Let's be fair here. "...against then Secretary of State when the Ambassadors in Benghazi were murdered, and whose political resume highlight is 'wife of impeached former US President Bill Clinton', was the Democratic nominee."

    El Reg is well known for never passing up a chance to throw a jab with impunity. I am surprised to see this bias.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

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