This Scottish man’s Twitter feed is blowing up for all the wrong reasons

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Remember John Lewis, the American computer science educator who’s forever being mistaken for both a congressman and a British department store?

Well, he’s not the only one.

With increasing mentions of Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon cropping up in the news, one man from Scotland has found himself on the receiving end up a huge surge of misdirected tweets.

Introducing @SteveBannon — Scottish man living in the southwest of England, father of three, and very much not a senior advisor to Donald Trump

Depressed by Politics? Just Let Go

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The unhappiness results speak for themselves. A friend of mine — a well-known journalist with a large social media following — once confided in me that there is little that brings him more anxiety than checking his Twitter feed. As he clicks on his notifications, he can feel his chest tighten. Maybe you can relate to this.

So what is the solution? First, find a way to bring politics more into your sphere of influence so it no longer qualifies as an external locus of control. Simply clicking through angry political Facebook posts by people with whom you already agree will most likely worsen your mood and help no one. Instead, get involved in a tangible way — volunteering, donating money or even running for office. This transforms you from victim of political circumstance to problem solver.

Second, pay less attention to politics as entertainment. Read the news once a day, as opposed to hitting your Twitter feed 50 times a day like a chimp in a 1950s experiment on the self-administration of cocaine. Will you get the very latest goings on in Washington in real time? No. Will that make you a more boring person? No. Trust me here — you will be less boring to others. But more important, you will become happier.

So go ahead, let go of the tree.

How to Run a Rogue Government Twitter Account With an Anonymous Email Address and a Burner Phone

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In response, self-described government workers created a wave of rogue Twitter accounts that share real facts (not to be confused with “alternative facts,” otherwise known as “lies”) about climate change and science. As a rule, the people running these accounts chose to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation — but, depending on how they created and use their accounts, they are not necessarily anonymous to Twitter itself, or to anyone Twitter shares data with.

How memeable moments could help world leaders with their Trump problem

Donald Trump Hosts Canadian PM Justin Trudeau At The White House

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Momentary flashes like these—tiny, seemingly insignificant and almost dismissible moments of resistance amid the strictures and intentionally bland standards of high-stakes diplomacy—are perfect antidotes to the officiousness of the formal event, allowing diplomacy to play out in two different venues: on the pure surface of the anodyne pressers and grip-and-grins, and in the roiling, uncontrollable, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ cauldron of social media.

 

The Alt-Majority: How Social Networks Empowered Mass Protests Against Trump

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Most important, though, the movement can command the media narrative. The president has promised a lot of bold change. His boldness will involve lots of real-world consequences. Millions might lose health care coverage if he repeals the Affordable Care Act. Many might be deported if he achieves his immigration proposals.

If the last two weeks are any indication, though, none of this will happen quietly. There will be pictures and viral videos of real people facing hardship, and those pictures are sure to inspire hordes. When people are left with crippling medical bills in the absence of health insurance, or when people are deported to Mexico, you will see large gatherings on Facebook, and then on TV.

A short investigation into the mysterious tweets from press secretary Sean Spicer

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One possibility is that they are passwords, tweeted out as whoever is behind the account gets used to the new security procedures governing it. There are a lot of theories out there on how it might have happened. By far the most likely is that of the Guardian’s Alex Hern, who identified one possible way that could happen, if the @PressSec account has two-factor authentication activated.

Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security for password-protected accounts, and it would be good for the official account of the press secretary for the White House to have it. In fact, it would be good for anyone with a Twitter account to have it. According to a brand-new Pew report on cybersecurity, about 52 percent of Americans have used two-factor at some point to manage an account.

In case you are one of the 48 percent of Americans who haven’t used it, here’s how it works: In addition to entering in a password, two-factor requires users to enter in a randomly generated code that changes with each login, usually sent to your phone through either an app or a text message. For Twitter, those codes are sent via text by default, from a number that should look familiar to any longtime Twitter users: 40404.