An open letter to Senator Fierravanti-Wells from #NotABot

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(Meme via @slpng_giants_oz)

Ellie Large defends her Twitter mates following an extraordinary speech from Senator Fierravanti-Wells, in which singled out people who criticise the Coalition on Twitter as "bots" who "run interference for Labor".

DEAR Senator Fierravanti-Wells, or can I call you Connie?

I’m writing on behalf of my Twitter mates (comrades), in reference to your speech in the Senate on Thursday, 15 November 2018.

My mates as listed below are all good people. I can assure you there is not a bot among them. We’ve followed one another for years not because we are manipulated or organised by Labor or the union movement but because we share core beliefs.

Here’s a list of my mates, in the order mentioned in your speech:

Senator, your speech was insulting and, to use your word, in parts, "toxic". It was a great example of what you accuse my mates of spreading — "fake news".

You state:

A submission to JSCEM [Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters] from Digital Industry Group Inc, which includes representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google, concludes:

'Fortunately, the experience of DIGI members and the use of their platforms in Australia, to date there is no evidence to suggest that election manipulation has been a widespread problem in Australia as it has been in the U.S.'

Similarly a submission from Twitter says:

'During the 2016 election, we were not made aware of any activity related to the suppression or interference with the exercise of voting rights in Australia.’

Twitter accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, the infamous Russian Troll Factory, have spread politically charged posts about Australian politics, including the 2016 Federal Election and last year's same-sex marriage survey."

It is extraordinary that you would take "information" from The Australian over that provided to JSCEM from Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI) and in the same breath mention Russian Troll Factory. This is appalling and tells us a great deal about you.

You ask:

"Who has either the inclination or the resources to, in the main, retweet 240 times a day, year upon year? I suggest that the description of many accounts as being operated by unionists offers a clue."

The answer is we do — ordinary dinky-di Australians, some of us members of the Labor Party, most not. However, we are united in caring deeply for our country and we are beyond disturbed by the disastrous mismanagement, the constant rorting, the ineptitude and the lack of proper representation for 99 per cent of us, displayed by your Coalition Government.

You say…

Some accounts run lies and smears against the Coalition or needle Coalition candidates and parliamentarians while promoting Labor initiatives or running interference for Labor. They are frequently a vehicle for unfounded and defamatory allegations, low-grade research or catalogues of alleged Coalition misdeeds, which wouldn't be publishable by or rate any interest from the mainstream media.

I can give you some insight into a few of the people on your #LaborTwitterTree list:

  • @virgotweet is a Labor Party member, same with me. We live within cooee of one another, yet have never met;
  • @Talaolp — You say of this account,‘some of its anti-Coalition material is scurrilous and intended simply to smear.’ I’m not sure you have done adequate research here, Senator, as @Talaolp and I share an interest in the hashtag, #IPAexposed, which examines the unhealthy involvement of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), their enmeshed relationship with the Coalition, plus some Independent Federal Parliamentarians. Without fail, @Talaop posts a source in "its" tweets. So, Senator, your accusation of "scurrilous" is more fitting to your comments, I’d suggest;
  • @Nobby15, is an allrounder, focusing on a range of misdeeds by your Government as well as sharing mates' tweets; and
  • @MSMWatchdog2013 is committed to sharing historical information about the ABC and its board members. Here is an informative Twitter thread from this account:

Your speech to the Senate has created a Twitter storm, galvanising supporters and followers alike. For example, @Nobby15 followers have increased by over 400 so far. I’m sure the same applies to the remaining Hansard "bots". Oh, the irony!

Senator, thank you. You have done us a big favour. Your speech has had what Twitter describes as the #CoryBernardiEffect. You may remember Senator Bernardi's "gender morphing" comments to school fundraising by asking boys to wear a skirt and the overwhelming response of support for the school involved? Senator Eric Abetz also boosts Getup membership whenever he whines about that organisation.

You say in closing:

As we approach the next election, we need to be aware that political interest groups, as well as potential state actors, are trying to amplify their messaging and distort debate, including by disseminating fake news using social media platforms. In relation to state actors, I again note that a U.S. intelligence report assessed that:

'Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies and their election processes.'

Clearly, there is much to be on guard about as we approach the next election. I will be forwarding this speech to JSCEM as I believe it adds qualitative material.

Seriously, are you okay, Senator? This reeks of a serious case of paranoia — often a precursor for early onset dementia. Just saying.

Russian and Putin? For your information, #RedsUnderTheBed is the new hashtag born out of your warped thinking.

One last question, what do you mean when you say:

"Often they admit a union connection or Labor viewpoint, together with an eclectic mix of other interests, which collectively cover the entire gamut of left-wing concerns"?

Is it that these "left-wing" accounts express concern for the environment, for refugees, for fairness, for peace, for a safer workplace, have empathy and compassion for their fellow man? What, precisely, are you referring to?

Lastly, you used the words "creating an echo chamber of reinforcing noise", yet looking at the photo of your address to the Senate, shows you in your very own echo chamber, Senator.

Yours sincerely,

Ellie Large / @elliemail

P.S. All of the above account holders would welcome further investigation into their Twitter accounts — if only to clear their names from your scurrilous attack.

Senator Ferrevianti-Wells addresses the Senate,15 November 2018 (Screenshot via YouTube)

You can follow Ellie on Twitter @elliemail.

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