Kid Rock a Favorite Celeb for Russian Trolls to Impersonate Online, Paper Shows
Kid Rock is a favorite celebrity for Russian troll accounts to impersonate online, according to a new research paper from the social media tracking firm Graphika and Stanford University's Internet Observatory.
In fact, unofficial Kid Rock pages' pervasiveness on far-right social media apps is so far-reaching that former president Donald Trump's son reposted one, seemingly believing it to be authentic, as Rolling Stone reported. Social platforms associated with conservatives include Gab, Gettr, Parler and Trump's own, Truth Social.
Ahead of the midterm elections, the proliferation of alternative social media sites helped push false and misleading information as a defining feature of American politics, as The New York Times has shown. And Russian misinformation accounts on those platforms frequently use the guise of Kid Rock.
So explains the research study titled "Bad Reputation: Suspected Russian Actors Leverage Alternative Tech Platforms in Continued Effort to Covertly Influence Right-Wing U.S. Audiences."
The paper says the "actors behind this activity use fake personas to pose as members of the community they are attempting to infiltrate and influence. The Kid Rock 'fan page' accounts were by far the most successful in this regard, building a large follower base and reportedly viewed online as genuine Kid Rock accounts. However, we also identified other personas presenting as authentic right-wing users."
These Kid Rock profiles will often say they're a "fan page" in their bio. But without checking the profile itself, the posts can appear on users' feeds as simply being from "Kid Rock."
In June, Donald Trump Jr. "shared a screenshot with his 6.1 million Instagram followers of a post by a Gettr account in the operation that purported to be a fan page for musician Kid Rock," the paper illustrates.
Combined with other celebrity impersonations from Russian troll accounts, it "illustrates the extent to which suspected Russian actors are able to leverage social media platforms that lack robust policies on foreign IO," the paper says.
Some of these fake social media accounts "were first exposed in 2020, again in 2021, and most recently ahead of the 2022 U.S. midterms," it explains. "Due to an apparent lack of enforcement, the actors have established a degree of persistence unavailable on most mainstream platforms and are able to conduct their operations with relative ease."
In addition to his music, Kid Rock is known for his longstanding support of Trump. The rap-rock singer and country artist has performed at a Trump rally and even golfed with the former president. Earlier this month, he helped DJ Donald Trump Jr.'s Christmas party.