Are you getting catfished by the Koch Brothers?
It all starts out innocently enough. You “like” “The Constitution” on Facebook. You “like” “Being American” or “The Gas Prices Are Too Damn High!” or “Adorable Cats Wearing Mittens.” Whatever, it’s Facebook. Sometimes you just click on things. Seemingly innocuous things. Perhaps you imagine that the group behind these things that you like is a group of hip millennials like yourself. That’s what “Generation Opportunity,” the group behind some of these pages, wants to portray itself as– “A Group of Millenials Who Love Freedom” is how they describe themselves.
Maybe you fall in love. But then you start getting all this crazy Tea Party shit in your feed from them, and then you start to wonder if you’re really liking who you think you’re liking after all. So you call up Nev Schulman at MTV, and he takes you to their house, and you’re all dressed up and excited, but then it turns out to be THESE DUDES:
Real talk, though. Apparently there is, indeed, some weird social media oriented group called “Generation Opportunity” made up of a bunch of elderly Tea Party fanatics masquerading as hip young things. They create seemingly innocuous pages– things most people will “like,” regardless of political orientation– and as soon as they get a shit ton of followers, they bombard them with conservative propaganda, like so:
Which is pretty shady. The organization, far from being the “grass roots” organization of millennials who LOVE FREEDOM, as it claims, is actually another astroturf organization funded by the Koch Brothers.
This whole thing has actually been going on for a while now, and the group has been outed by both the Center for Public Integrity and The New York Times.
What you need to know now, however, is that Generation Opportunity has come up with a new way to seduce you, the casual Millennial Facebook user.
Food trucks have been gaining in popularity recently in urban areas across the country. Not surprising, because we are a people who love food (particularly drunk food) and also convenience. The thing is, in many areas, certain kinds of food trucks not allowed, because of safety regulations. I don’t know about you, but I am a pretty big fan of safety regulations when it comes to my food. And also things that could catch on fire.
However, the group is framing this as an elaborate conspiracy on the part of restaurant owners who are afraid of losing business to said food trucks. This is obviously bullshit, since most of the food trucks are actually owned by restaurants in the first place. But no matter.
The actual purpose of all this is to get you to sign a petition– a petition that will allow the group access to ““public profile, friend list, email address, News Feed, relationships, birthday, current city, likes and your friends’ birthdays, current cities and likes” for the purpose of pushing forth their conservative agenda.
Now, I have no problem with people pushing a conservative agenda if they want to push a conservative agenda. That’s their prerogative. If that’s your agenda, go ahead and push it. But don’t hide behind ridiculous Astroturf groups, don’t try and pretend you’re something you’re not in order to do it. Be honest about what you’re doing. And hey, if your agenda is so repulsive to people that you have to Catfish them in order to reel them in, maybe you should examine why that is.
I mean, I am an unapologetic leftist. I’m cool with people knowing that. I’m not going to try and reel unsuspecting people in with a delicious recipe for eggplant parmesan or something and then start slipping in the talk about wealth redistribution or whatever. That’s dishonest, and also kind of weird. I also believe that my opinions, thoughts and ideas are valid enough on their own merit, that I don’t have to disguise them, or pretend that they belong to someone “cooler” than I am. That’s just sad.