Larry is a retired 71-year-old insurer who is also a Donald Trump fan from Alabama is unlikely to meet liberal Emma who is a 25-year-old graphic artist.
Each is a product of BBC journalist Marianna Spring’s imagination. She created fake Americans and set up accounts on social media for them as part of an effort to show how propaganda spreads across sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok despite efforts to block it, and how it affects American politics and society.
Spring’s reportage has been featured on BBC’s newscasts and the BBC’s website in addition to her weekly show “Americast,” the British perspective on information from the United States. Spring began her project at the end of August, with the midterm elections in mind, but hopes to continue the project until 2024.
Spring collaborated together with Spring collaborated with the Pew Research Center in the U.S. to set up five archetypes. Alongside the extremely conservative Larry and liberal Emma There’s Britney who is a more popular traditionalist and a native of Texas; Gabriela, a mostly apolitical independent from Miami and Michael who is a Black educator from Milwaukee who is a moderate Democrat.
By using computer-generated images She set up accounts for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. The accounts are non-active which means the “people” don’t have friends or have public posts.
Spring Emma, who has five different phones with each one’s name, tends to the accounts in order to complete the “personalities.” For instance, Emma is a lesbian who adheres to LGBTQ groups and is an atheist. She is a keen observer of issues affecting women’s rights and abortion rights, is a proponent of the legalization of marijuana, and reads The New York Times and NPR.
Based on what she read as well as what she liked Britney came out as anti-vax and critical of large businesses, which is why she has been dragged into a variety of rabbit tunnels, Spring said. It has also received materials including violent content that falsely claim Donald Trump won the 2020 election. The account has also been asked to join forces with people who claim that the Mar-a-Lago operation is “proof” Trump won and the state was trying to snare the president, and other groups who support conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Major social media companies restrict accounts created by impersonators. Anyone who violates the rules can be penalized because they created them, however, some people evade the rules.
Journalists have utilized a variety of methods to study how tech giants function. In the course of a story published this year The Wall Street Journal created more than 100 automated accounts in order to examine the way, TikTok guided users in various directions. The Markup newsroom, a non-profit organization, put together an advisory panel comprising 1,200 users who consented to have their internet browsers examined for information about the way Facebook and YouTube functioned.