There has been a lot of chatter on Facebook over the last couple days regarding a slew of pro-Bernie Sanders Facebook groups being inexplicably removed or taken offline. Rumors have flown all around the place, with some feeling it was Facebook itself (lol), and others thinking it was a concerted effort from the Hillary campaign itself. My pal Manny here on Modern Liberals made his case for why he thinks that it’s most likely Trump supporters or even the Sanders group administrators themselves taking the page down, but while I think after the initial wave of group closures hit some page administrators smartly decided to unpublish their groups, the reality of the situation seems pretty straightforward.
By now, if you’re even remotely aware of the story, the name “Casey Champagne” should ring a bell. “He” is the one whose post in a pro-Hillary group seemed to blow the lid off of what has happened.
Manny made a good point that we should all keep in mind — Casey may not be who Casey claims to be. This is the Internet. He could be a Trump supporter, he could not be. But I’ve always felt that the best way to handle these types of situations, until better evidence comes to light, is to accept some of the basic facts on their face. This Casey character posted a screenshot of a message from Facebook saying that a group had been reported and removed, and that page is one of the many that were unavailable yesterday.
There are also many, many screenshots of the subsequent conversations other Hillary supporters had with “Casey,” and they are overwhelmingly giddy and encouraging of his behavior.
The profile for Casey seems to say he’s “proud” of his work, and that he doesn’t care if he’s caught. That doesn’t seem to be entirely true, because you can’t find that profile anymore, which means he’s either taken it down or set it to super-duper private status.
This isn’t a court of law, and I’m not presenting evidence to try and convict Mr. Champagne here. But to my eyes, what I’m seeing is that this person, along with several others (you have to report something en masse on Facebook for the algorithm to kick the reported content off the site) most definitely reported a bunch of pro-Bernie groups. How many? I don’t know, and it’s probably very true that some got nervous and pulled themselves down, but I don’t think that’s the case with all of them.
Manny brought up the fact that the Hillary campaign has nothing to gain by actually being behind this stupid shit. I happen to agree with him. I will, however, point out that Dick Nixon didn’t need” to have the Watergate broken into and burglarized either; he was going to win in a landslide and that was apparent even as his goons were ransacking the Democratic office there. So even if this were to somehow get back to Hillary’s campaign, it wouldn’t be the first time a presidential campaign did something stupid and harmful to themselves in an effort to win at all costs. Again, I’m not even remotely saying that’s true, but it’s one point of Manny’s I thought could use another perspective.
The feeling I get from all of this is that Casey Champagne is a shitty pro-Hillary troll. He’s probably the kind of guy who guys into comment threads and accuses Sanders supporters of being secret Republicans, or hating black people and gay people. He’s probably very much so aware that Sanders and his supporters are largely not in any way those kinds of people. But he’s also clearly one of those “politics is all about winning at all costs” types of assholes too. So that’s why he was at least part of, if not one of the ringleaders of this effort.
Granted, Manny’s theory could hold water, and maybe Mr. “Champagne” is really a Trump supporter. That to me is too much conjecture to get behind. I have to accept some things on face value, even on the Internet, or I could drive myself ape shit thinking about all the possibilities. Frankly, it seems fairly obvious to me that this is the same kind of bullshit that got Manny and I recently put in Facebook jail; it’s mass reporting by people who disagree with the political ideologies espoused and supported in the groups that were attacked.
In all likelihood this wasn’t the work of someone inside the Hillary campaign. It smells more like garden variety, shitty trolling to me. Mass reporting is a technique often used by troll “armies” to get people silenced. And while we may never know if the trolls involved were Hillary or Trump trolls, considering the screenshots come from a pro-Hillary group, until I see better, more credible evidence presented, I’m going with my gut reaction here, which is also the simplest explanation possible.
Shitty pro-Hillary trolls mass reported a bunch of pro-Bernie groups. Whoever they “worked for” or if they were operating independently isn’t really my concern. Politics is gross, and this is gross behavior, and I’d saying the same thing if Hillary or even Trump groups were shutdown. That’s censorship. That’s fascism. And it’s emotionally immature garbage perpetrated by garbage thinking human beings. Anything more than that, and I don’t really care at this point.