WaPost: How the Russians pretended to be Texans — and Texans believed them

The Heart of Texas was the most popular pro-secession page on Facebook. It turned out to be run by Russians, who only needed a cartoonish understanding of Confederate feelings to rack up millions of views.

As Casey Michel writes in the Washington Post:

“Its organizers had a strangely one-dimensional idea of its subject. They seemed to think, for example, that Texans drank Dr. Pepper at all hours: while driving their giant trucks, while flying their Confederate battle flags, while griping about Yankees and liberals and vegetarians.

But Heart of Texas, sadly, was no joke. At one point the page’s organizers even managed to stir up its followers into staging an armed, anti-Islamic protest in Houston.”

Facebook caught on to the espionage this year and deleted the page. But you can still read about it in Michel’s article here.

This is valuable lesson in the simplicity and power of group communication. When the group prototype is loosely defined ( we drink Dr. Pepper), it can be more easily attached to unrelated ideas (we don’t like Islam).

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