While everyone was arguing about the right of liberals to use the word fuck while fighting the Trump administration’s policy of ripping babies from the arms of their immigrant mothers, the Russian bots on social media were busy creating the fake #walkaway movement. The social media posts appeared to be a “grassroots movement” of Democrats turning their backs on the party, but in fact, were orchestrated by pro-Trump users and Russian-linked profiles.
It all started at the end of June when the lying excuse for a press secretary was politely asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, but the “movement” really gained momentum when Rep. Maxine Waters refused to show sympathy for the Trump crew’s inability to eat at Mexican restaurants because of their complicity in the abhorrent family separation policy.
The tweets pretty much all pushed the same tired narrative: a Democrat complaining about the “hate” or “intolerance” coming from “the left” accompanied by the hashtag #WalkAway. Many of them claimed they had been voting for Democrats an X amount of years, but now they would be supporting Trump in light of Sarah Sanders being denied a chicken dish. Before you get worried about the fate of the Democratic party though, remember, it isn’t real.
The “movement” got its official start in May when its Facebook page was created, the first post dating May 19th, and then the page created a public group for its members which already has over 19k members. An amazing feat for any Facebook group to achieve as that means it gained an average of 422 members per day.
Then the “movement” branched out to Twitter, with user @usminority leading the charge. The first tweet to really get things moving was created on May 31 and tagged 11 highly influential Trumpers. The #WalkAway hashtag was spreading, especially when Wayne Dupree, a well-known Trump supporter, added his voice to the campaign. The hashtag and the movement still weren’t really a thing, that is until June 23rd happened.
On the 23rd, the #WalkAway floodgates opened, and tweets containing the hashtag began appearing at an extremely rapid rate. However, the most notable thing wasn’t the amount of tweets but the engagement level attached to those tweets. Normal engagement is around 1% (1 like/retweet per 100 followers), but the #WalkAway tweets were hitting 500-4000% engagement rates. Accounts with less than 2 followers were seeing 23 retweets. Ask any social media manager, that shit just doesn’t happen. The “movement” was an “artificially amplified digital operation.”
Does that mean that everyone single #WalkAway tweet is from a bot, a Trump troll, or a Russian? No, it doesn’t. Likely there are real walk away people out there, but the “movement” itself is just an algorithm game.
"There’s little actual evidence to suggest that #WalkAway represents a mass conversion of millions — or even thousands — of Democrats to the Trump Train since Straka’s video. Instead, the #WalkAway hashtag is going Conservative Internet viral on the same hope driving recent pro-Trump support of Kanye West: that the country is on the verge of a mass conversion to conservative thought, a Great Awakening of sorts. And the thing about anticipating an awakening is that it never actually has to happen for the idea of it to go viral."
The #WalkAway meme is what happens when everything is viral and nothing matters - Washington Post