MSNBC panel calls out Twitter for refusing to stop racist attacks on Kamala Harris by Don Jr. and bots
Senator Kamala Harris. (C-SPAN/screen shot)

An MSNBC panel noted Sunday that the racist "birther" attacks from President Donald Trump's son, Don Jr., about Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), seemed to be fueled by bots on Twitter's platform.


MSNBC host Kasie Hunt found it surprising that Trump Jr. deleted the tweet because the family doesn't tend ever to admit when they've done something wrong. Deleting the tweet was a way of acknowledging that he was wrong to have accused Harris of not being half Indian.

"So, I think that clearly sends a message they knew this was going to become a problem," Hunt said. "But how do you see this dynamic? Clearly, the Democratic field is jumping to her defense, but these ugly politics like with Barack Obama is still there."

"Yes, it is scary," agreed commentator Karine Jean-Pierre. She remembered dealing with the racist birtherism campaign during the 2012 reelection of former President Barack Obama. She noted that at one point, she had to watch Obama show his long-form birth certificate, which she called "incredibly painful for so many of us."

"There's one more thing I need to say here, we have to ask what are the tech companies going to do?" Jean-Pierre went on. "These are bots; a lot of them are bots that are spreading misinformation and lies. We saw this in 2016. Are we going to relive this for 2020? Also, we know Russia was involved and possibly because the Trump administration doesn't seem all that interested in stopping what Russia did, and going after our democracy, right, after our elections, we could have other countries getting involved as well. That's a concern. What are the tech companies going to do?"

Hunt said that a Republican strategist was the one who first used the language against Harris and it was Trump Jr. who parroted it, retweeting the comments.

"The original language was copied and pasted to all of these accounts, many of which seem to be suspect," Hunt said. "How can we fight back against this?"

Twitter announced July, 2018 that they would be suspending 70 million accounts fake accounts on their platform. In wake of the suspension, however, it appears new bots have merely popped up.

Last week, Twitter took the unusual step to curb false information coming from large political accounts like President Donald Trump. When false information appears in Tweets, Trump's tweets will have a disclaimer and be blurred out until users click the disclaimer. Trump has broken Twitter's terms of services so many times that it prompted outrage for those who are suspended when they say the same types of things the president does. Users alleged a different standard for verified and famous people than everyday users. This was Twitter's way of dealing with it.

Watch the full conversation from MSNBC: