Jack Dorsey Is In Bed With Extremists
Twitter’s CEO has touted the anti-Semitic GOP political operative behind 2020's “Stop The Steal” protests
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was booted from Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify in August 2018.
Twitter, on the other hand, opted to allow Jones on their platform for a month longer than their peers, permanently suspending his account in September 2018.
A year earlier, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, initiated discussion with a number of conservatives who alleged Twitter was censoring their speech.
Among the conservatives who Twitter met with was Ali Alexander, a Roger Stone linked Trumpworld operative, who shared a photo of him hugging Dorsey at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters on his Instagram in February 2018 (caption: “I appreciate [Dorsey] listening to some of my concerns affecting conservatives on the most important communications platform in the world, Twitter”):
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Alexander was one of the people that Dorsey sought input from specific to whether or not Twitter should suspend Alex Jones.
Alexander felt strongly that Twitter should not suspend Jones and advised Dorsey accordingly.
When asked about his relationship with Alexander during an interview with The Huffington Post in January 2019, Dorsey stated that “I was introduced to [Alexander] by a friend, and you know, he’s got interesting points. I don’t obviously agree with most. But, I think the perspective is interesting.”
Alexander’s perspective, as outlined by Newsweek, frequently includes authoring anti-Semitic tweets.
Fast forward to today and Alexander, along with Mike Coudrey, are co-organizers of the 2020 “Stop The Steal” protests. The pair have engaged in behavior that violates Twitter Rules for several years, suggesting that Dorsey’s personal relationship with Alexander have given them a free pass.
Meet Ali Alexander (@ali)
Back in 2008, for example, Akbar pled guilty to a credit card abuse felony charge:
Akbar’s foray into national politics came in 2007, where as a John McCain campaign staffer he was “apparently reprimanded.. for discussing opportunities to commit voter fraud during the Republican primary campaign.”
According to Politico, on the eve of the 2016 election, billionaire Robert Mercer donated $60,000 to a PAC that Alexander advises.
The phrase “Stop The Steal” may be traced back to former Trump advisor and convicted felon, Roger Stone, who has since been pardoned by President Trump. Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports that Stone “started promoting a group of would-be poll watchers called ‘Stop The Steal’ during the 2016 election, first under the auspices of defending Trump’s Republican primary nomination and later contesting a potential Hillary Clinton victory that never manifested.”
Far right activists linked to Stone—including Alexander, Jack Posobiec, and Laura Loomer— used the “Stop The Steal” rally cry a “second time during the Florida gubernatorial race in 2018 when Republican Ron DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum by a margin of under one percentage point.” Alexander stated he would be recruiting homeless people and QAnon supporters to fill out their Florida protests. Members of Proud Boys were also in attendance.
While Alexander and Coudrey are leading the 2020 iteration of the “Stop The Steal” protests, Mother Jones lists Amy Kremer (a former Tea Party organizer), Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, and Scott Pressler (who formerly worked for the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America) as some of the “more compelling characters involved.”
Worth noting that in addition to Kremer, Alexander also was a Tea Party organizer, and that Kremer was one of the earlier Twitter accounts (2,548th) to follow @ali. Kremer, along with the ex-wife of Roger Stone, Ann Stone, launched the Women Vote Trump super PAC in the summer of 2016. The Tea Party, as has been documented by Social Forensics, regularly engages in coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) across multiple social media platforms.
Meet Michael Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey)
Mike Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) previously went by Mike Tokes and is the CEO of Yuko Social, which, per their site, is a “team of millennial social media experts here to help with all your social media needs.”
Yuko Social offers Basic, Standard, Delux, and All Inclusive service tiers, where the focus is gaining thousands of followers and likes each month across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest:
Yuko Social’s client roster includes Omar Navarro, a perennial GOP House candidate that in 2016, 2018, and 2020, unsuccessfully challenged longtime Democratic congressperson Maxine Waters in California’s 43rd congressional district. FEC filings reveal that Navarro’s congressional campaign dispersed $36,605 to Yuko Social between September 2018 and August 2019:
In July 2019, Navarro clashed with Proud Boys after tweeting that his ex-girlfriend, DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, had been using cocaine and “sleeping with Proud Boys.” Tesoriero ran for Congress in 2020 as a Republican candidate in California’s 12th congressional district where she picked up 1.8% of the vote in the blanket primary on March 3rd. Both the personal (@DeAnnaTLorraine) and congressional (@DeAnna4Congress) Twitter accounts of Tesoriero have been suspended. Prior to that time, Tesoriero repeatedly tweeted about QAnon and also shared her support for Pizzagate:
Navarro, a former member of Proud Boys, was banned from the group in July 2019 after a confrontation at Harry’s Restaurant, a Washington D.C. based restaurant/bar that’s popular with pro-Trump personalities.
Before rebranding as Mike Coudrey, Tokes and Navarro regularly hung out with white nationalists, as was documented in detail by The Stern Facts:
In December 2019, Navarro was arrested on stalking charges for violating a restraining order that his ex-girlfriend, Tesoriero, filed against him and was hit with three felony charges: attempted extortion, stalking, and criminal threats.
Navarro’s failed congressional runs have “earned him $1 million in campaign contributions and notoriety in right-wing circles, which he used to support contempt-of-court convict and former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, as well as die hard Trump felons Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.”
Alexander, Coudrey, and Navarro each have Twitter accounts that massively inflate their Followers counts, i.e. the vast majority of each account’s Followers are comprised of inauthentic accounts. Moreover, when they tweet, their content is propped up via deceptive engagement metrics, driven by activity (retweets, likes) from the same inauthentic accounts that inflate their Followers counts.
Coudrey and Navarro, for example, share nearly 65 thousand Followers. Such a large intersection of Followers simply doesn’t happen organically and is indicative of automation that violates Twitter Rules. Once again, Navarro’s congressional campaign has utilized the services of Coudrey’s Yuko Social.
Alexander and Coudrey have had their Twitter accounts suspended in the past, yet for unknown reasons their accounts were later re-instated (perhaps Alexander’s direct line to Dorsey played a role). Both have utilized Twitter, on multiple occasions and for several years, to spread misinformation.
The New York Times’ investigative report, “The Follower Factory,” employed a very clever tactic to identify fake Twitter Followers. Their approach involves plotting an account’s Followers (first to most recent) against the date each respective (Followers) account was created. The example below, courtesy of New York Times graphics editor, Rich Harris, does a great job illustrating patterns that signal fake Followers:
Here’s what the New York Times style scatterplot looks like for Alexander’s account:
As can very clearly be seen visibly, more than half of @ali’s first 20 thousand Followers reflect a pattern indicative of fake Followers.
Below is the New York Times style scatterplot for Coudrey’s account, broken out by whether or not Coudrey’s Followers are also Followers of Alexander’s account:
What this highlights is that for Coudrey’s first 65 thousand Followers, there is minimal overlap with Alexander’s Followers.
Starting in the second half of 2016 — which happens to coincide with when billionaire Robert Mercer donated $60,000 to a PAC that Alexander advises — Coudrey’s Followers and Alexander’s Followers abruptly transition to exhibiting inorganic levels of Followers overlap (sharing nearly 50 thousand Followers between the accounts as of December 17th, 2020).
Each of the accounts cycled through in this GIF have averaged 100+ tweets and 100+ likes per day since being created and include “Stop The Steal” in their display names:
Social Forensics was able to obtain more than 5 thousand inauthentic Twitter accounts that include “Stop The Steal” in either their display names or account bios. Said accounts were obtained by reviewing Alexander’s Followers and the Followers of Alexander’s Followers.
The purpose of the accounts is to create the illusion of wider spread support for the “Stop The Steal” efforts than reality reflects. Effectively, the accounts function as billboards, blasting the “Stop The Steal” tagline/messaging all over Twitter’s platform, creating advertising inventory for Twitter to monetize in the process.
“Stop The Steal” Protests: January 2020
Last night (January 5th) Trump supporters gathered for the first night of January 2020 “Stop The Steal” D.C. based protests.
According to a promotional video posted via Alexander to the “Stop The Steal” site, there will be a “wild protest” in D.C. later today (January 6th, 2020):
The video’s thumbnail reads “WildProtest.com Promo — Come to DC Jan 6th.”
Twitter (correctly) opted to block WildProtest.com, yet (negligently) allowed thousands of inauthentic accounts to retweet and like this tweet from Coudrey:
OK, So What’s Your Point?
Washington D.C. is bracing for 48 hours of potentially violent protests as Congress is set to vote to certify that Joe Biden won the presidential election.
President Trump himself tweeted about today’s protest 20 days ago, urging his supporters to show up:
Proud Boys are expected to be in attendance, and given their leader, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested on Monday for allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter flag.. the group will likely be fired up.
In addition to Proud Boys, QAnon supporters are also expected to be in attendance. Twitter, despite stating in July 2020 that they would be cracking down on QAnon, have done a horrible job at removing accounts that continue to amplify QAnon content via tactics that may be described as “coordinated inauthentic behavior” (CIB).
In summary, Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, has knowingly allowed his platform to function as the primary conduit to promote potentially violent protests that allege baseless election fraud claims.
Social Forensics maps and monitors social connections and activity.
We create purposefully designed tools to manage social data analytics needs across various industries. Our focus is audience segmentation and identifying coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) across social media platforms.
Geoff Golberg is an NYC-based researcher (and entrepreneur) who is fascinated by graph visualization/network analysis — more specifically, when applied to social networks and blockchain activity. His experience spans structured finance, ad tech, and digital marketing/customer acquisition, both at startups and public companies.
Geoff is the Founder/CEO/Janitor of Social Forensics.