On, MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily,” former FBI Agent Clint Watts explained how President Donald Trump’s Twitter account is a target for nefarious bad actors, both political and criminal.
“If I was a foreign government and I wanted to influence the United States, I would take this free, very cost effective method, just do the basic analytics of it and you get a window into his mind on what appeals to him and how to influence him,” Watts explained.
Host Chuck Todd seemed fascinated with the degree of Twitter accounts that are fake.
“How much of what we’re reading is real and how much is bot-generated right now?” Todd asked. “How much of Twitter’s traffic is bottish?”
“I think probably 20% to 30% is my opinion, my estimate of it, are really just manufactured, false accounts, propaganda,” Watts explained. “Advertising is about replication, it’s about volume. The best way to do that is to use automated bots to replicate what you want or want to sell.”
“The problem is how you regulate political interference or foreign interference or disinformation or misinformation,” Watts continued. “It incites panic, this is the equivalent of yelling fire in a movie theater — except we’re doing it in social media space.”
What happens on social media can have real world effects.
“We’ve seen tremendous reactions. When the A.P. Twitter account was hacked and taken over, we saw the stock market plunge 600,” Watts noted. “Now we’re talking about elections being influenced by the distribution of fake news, which Twitter is a valuable tool for, because it can spread so widely and so quickly.”
“The best answer for the President is to close that account down — that’s the only way we can protect him and our country from this sort of misinformation being spread in the online environment,” Watts advised.
“I don’t think he’ll close that account down, it’s part of empowering his base, but it’s a window into his psyche and it’s a vulnerability for our country,” Watts concluded.