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Hey readers! Andrew here. Welcome to the Thursday edition of Internet Insider.
Today, we’ve got reports on deepfakes popping up in Ukraine, Facebook facing fines, and a (clearly) fake TikTok hoax that is gaining popularity.
Meanwhile, in her “Dirty Delete” column, our Politics Reporter Claire dives into the social media history of a Virginia state senator who has been compared to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Enough from me, though. Let’s dive right into the news.
BREAK THE INTERNET
Deepfakes: A deepfake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy surfaced on a Ukranian news organization’s website shortly after it was allegedly breached by hackers. The deepfake video shows Zelenskyy asking for his soldiers to lay down their weapons amid the Russian government’s invasion of the country.
Privacy: Meta, the parent company of Facebook, was fined $18.6 million for a dozen violations of the European Union’s data protection and privacy law. The violations came after Ireland’s Data Protection Agency looked into about 12 data breaches in 2018. Read more about the fine here.
TikTok hoax: A hoax about mixing salt, sugar, and water to create snow has become viral on TikTok despite it being clearly fake. Gavia, one of our culture reporters, dives deep into the hoax and how its popularity has spawned debunks and attempts by users to recreate it.
Amanda Chase is on a mission to bring far-right politics and conspiracy theories to Virginia
The Republican state senator from Virginia would probably prefer the moniker she’s bestowed upon herself: “Trump in heels.”
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase grabbed a few headlines by refusing to wear a mask on the senate floor, which memorably led to her being forced to legislate from inside a plexiglass box.
She was relatively unknown outside her district until the Capitol riot. That’s when her conservative star really started to shine.
At the protest that later led to the riot, Chase delivered what the Washington Post called “an inflammatory speech.” At the time, she also accused Democrats of “treason” for stealing the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump and urged Trump to proclaim martial law to stay in power.
Subsequently, she defended the rioters, referring to the mob that assaulted Congress as “patriots” and falsely claiming they were peaceful and nondestructive. She also falsely blamed the violence and destruction on leftist protesters from Black Lives Matter and antifa, which she’s called “terrorist groups.”
Chase’s claims about the riot got her temporarily suspended from Facebook. It also resulted in her being censured by a bipartisan group of Virginia state senators, with some of her fellow Republicans calling her an “embarrassment” and accusing her of “hypocrisy,” the Post reports.
That hasn’t slowed her election fraud roll, however. This legislative session, Chase introduced a bill to require a “full forensic audit” of Virginia’s 2020 election results.
Like Greene, to whom she’s often compared, the Richmond Free Press reports that Chase has “cozied up” to the QAnon conspiracy theory that a cabal of satanists who rape and eat children runs the world. Last year, she proudly posted QAnon hero Mike Flynn’s endorsement on her YouTube channel.
In November, she claimed “far left extremists trolls” are being paid to “stalk” her online.
In the same post, she wrote that Facebook had permanently deleted two of her pages. It’s not clear why. She remains active on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find Chase on the usual assortment of platforms favored by far-right figures: Gab, Gettr, and Telegram. If Truth Social ever manages to get its act together, you’ll certainly be able to find her there too.
Chase seems committed to using her state senate seat as a launchpad to higher office—though the outcome hasn’t been so great thus far.
Last year, she unsuccessfully ran for governor, losing in the Republican primary to Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Earlier this year, she bowed out of a run for Congress after the new legislative maps put her in a district already occupied by a Republican.
It’s not clear where Chase is headed next, but she doesn’t seem inclined to bow out of public life any time soon.
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🔑 KEY STORIES
A stockbroker is in the Twitter hot seat for complaining that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy didn’t wear a suit when he addressed the United States Congress today.
A TikToker has gone viral on the platform after posting what he alleges is a cease and desist letter from a lawyer representing the band Coldplay. However, there are many reasons to be suspicious of the claim.
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BEFORE YOU GO
A TikTok who posted a video about tracking her roommate while they were on a late-night date has gone viral. In the video, the TikToker says she tracked her friend’s location to a canal during her 1 a.m. date.
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