Pro-Trump activist and Donald Trump Jr. buddy Charlie Kirk is caught paying teenagers to spread right-wing conspiracy theories on social media.
Kirk has appeared at events with multiple Trump kids, was a speaker at both the 2016 and 2020 Republican National Conventions, and claims to be friends with Donald Trump personally.
The troll farm was paid for through Turning Point Action, an affiliate of Kirk’s company Turning Point USA which also operates Students For Trump. Turning Point paid for at least 4,500 posts on teenagers’ social media accounts. The posts ranged from disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic and mail-in voting to conspiracies about Joe Biden.
The activity is eerily similar to the Russian Internet Research Agency disinformation campaigns in 2016, which paid Agency employees to write social media posts and blog posts to promote Trump and lie about Hillary Clinton.
The main difference between the Internet Research Agency troll farm and Turning Point is that some (not all) of Turning Point’s paid trolls used their real names online.
A spokesperson for Turning Point Action claims that the paid disinformation campaign is justified because in-person disinformation events were cut short by the pandemic.
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