Grifters Gotta Grift
Welcome to Parler! By attracting the gullible, they are also attracting the scammers. Is there a difference?
On Dec. 5, an account that said it was Vice President Mike Pence’s “Official Profile” on the conservative social network Parler posted a link to a Trump Challenge Coin giveaway.
“Own A Piece Of History With President Trump’s Commemorative Medallion!” said @MikePenceVicePresident, directing people to a website where they could order a free Trump commemorative coin if they paid for shipping. The post attracted over 170,000 views. Days later, the Pence account reshared a message from a “Team Trump” Parler account that promoted a CBD oil that falsely claimed to be endorsed by first lady Melania Trump.
Pence’s office confirmed that the account, which attracted hundreds of thousands of views, is fake. So are roughly 50 other Parler accounts that masqueraded as prominent Republicans, including White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Donald Trump Jr., and former Trump attorney Sidney Powell to shill sketchy products to Parler’s pro-Trump user base.
Tell us more!
The fake accounts masqueraded as popular right-wing figures, as well as conservative news sources and average Trump fans, with the goal of earning money. Their ability to quickly attract followers and hundreds of thousands of views shows how Parler’s current growth spurt and freewheeling, anti-censorship ethos has created opportunities for manipulation and financial schemes.
Is that all?
The platform experienced rapid growth thanks to promotion from Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Devin Nunes, and other Republicans who pitch it as a place free from censorship. Along with fake accounts preying on Trump fans, the Washington Post reportedthat Parler, which is funded by the billionaire Mercer family who bankrolled right-wing news site Breitbart and disgraced data firm Cambridge Analytica, is inundated by porn spammers.
HAWT! Conservative porn spammers! So spanking and Xristian-scolding dominatrixes, I’m guessing. But I digest.
On Tuesday, Parler said it banned the accounts after being contacted by BuzzFeed News. “I believe most of those fraudulent accounts were a sad attempt to circumvent our advertising network,” Parler CEO John Matze said.
“They’re MY marks,” Matze didn’t add. “Hands-off!”