I recently learned that Canada’s state broadcaster spent resources trying to investigate me and my social media. And the Prime Minister’s Office took an interest.
The CBC attempted what amounts to a smear campaign against, among others, myself, Ezra Levant and Barbara Kay.
You might have seen the story online. The alarmist headline read: “Twitter trolls stoked debates about immigration and pipelines in Canada, data show: 9M troll tweets released by Twitter reveal foreign campaigns to influence Canadians’ opinions.”
That’s quite the statement. And a reader could be forgiven for thinking that foreign agents posted nine million tweets about Canadian pipelines and immigration in an attempt to meddle in our politics and push propaganda. That’s what the headline says, after all.
But that’s far from the truth.
The article reveals that Twitter released an archive of 9.6 million deleted tweets since 2013 that came from suspected bots — that is, fake accounts that are not connected to real people.
Of the 9.6 million deleted tweets, 21,600 mentioned Canada.
Yes, 21,600. Not nine million, as the headline deceptively implies.
The story reveals that the account most retweeted by trolls was CBC News, followed by Rebel Media and its founder, Levant.
Despite the alarmism of this “investigative report,” these accounts were retweeted less than 200 times each.
For context, there are 261 million Twitter users worldwide who post about half a billion tweets per day. In Canada alone, there are over seven million Twitter users who post hundreds of millions of times per day.
Levant getting 148 retweets from bots since 2013 is hardly news. Levant has posted 113,000 tweets since he joined Twitter, and it isn’t uncommon for his posts to be retweeted thousands of times.
Upon request, CBC reporter Roberto Rocha sent Levant his methodology, including the keywords searched in the report. Rocha didn’t include the country’s most prominent journalists or mainstream media outlets in his analysis, but he did include myself, Kay and Levant.
Why? It’s safe to bet that this report was a set up, designed to discredit conservative voices in the hopes our names would top their list. Perhaps the CBC desperately wanted to demonstrate that our online audiences are somehow illegitimate — propped up by “Russian bots.”
Despite the best efforts of the bullies over at our state broadcaster, the attempt to smear conservatives failed. They couldn’t muster up enough dirt to even mention me or Kay in their story, and had to resort to pretending Levant’s 148 retweets over seven years is a big deal.
So why did the CBC drum up this fake news story?
In one of his last social media posts as the top advisor to the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts shared this CBC article with the caption: “!”
He, too, was keen to fear-monger over this nonsense report.
You see, the Trudeau government is planning to censor and regulate free speech online. They’ve already warned Facebook to fix its “fake news problem” and recently announced a $7 million government program to re-educate Canadians about how to read the news online.
Trudeau’s inner circle and his friends at the state broadcaster want Canadians to believe there is a crisis of foreign meddling and fake news. This “investigative report” was supposed to be another helpful datapoint on the road to government censorship.
Instead, the report was a dud. But count on the CBC to peddle more fake news in the future to help the Trudeau government crackdown on free speech.