The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has issued a bizarre one-page pamphlet warning about Russian intelligence agents’ alleged efforts to “divide Americans” using the example of sharp divisions about pizza topping preferences.
The agency’s guide uses the argument about whether pineapple belongs on a pizza, warning that hypothetically, Russian spies may create and rename social media bot accounts to “amplify and distort” the “healthy debate” among Americans by “polluting” these debates “with bad information and making our positions more extreme by picking fights, or ‘trolling’ people online.”
The next step, according to the agency, is for these arguments to hit the mainstream media, and after that, to be taken “into the real world” in the form of protests organised or funded by “Kremlin agents…to further stoke divisions.”
The DHS’s cheesy analogy did not go over particularly well among social media users, who compared the story to something out of The Onion and accused the agency of wasting taxpayers dollars on trivial nonsense instead of focusing on real problems.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning that Russian agents could seek to further divide Americans by exploiting U.S. passions over whether pineapple belongs on pizza.— Mats ☮ Nilsson (@mazzenilsson) 20 июля 2019 г.
( No, sadly it's not @TheOnion.)
You should change you handle to Benedict Arnold for liking pineapple pizza.— I-Spy (@windkbba) 20 июля 2019 г.
“What happens when an Agency is simultaneously over-funded and under-staffed in terms of competency,” one user wrote. “2-10 million illegal voters, and DHS is seriously concerned about pineapple pizza affecting our elections. And ABC seriously reports it. Beam me up,” another argued.
What happens when an Agency is simultaneously over-funded and under-staffed in terms of competency.— in lumine luceam (@stt1887) 20 июля 2019 г.
DHS warns of Russian efforts to divide America over pineapple pizza -- sort of - ABC News - https://t.co/1nm4w5dSLX via @ABC
2-10 million illegal voters, and DHS is seriously concerned about pineapple pizza affecting our elections.— Honey Badger (@SalsaPrice) 21 июля 2019 г.
And ABC seriously reports it.
Beam me up. https://t.co/Lh7CiDPoW3
Even those who apparently do believe in a ‘Russian-orchestrated disinformation campaign’ were confused by the pizza pineapple campaign’s message, calling it “flippant,” and even hatching conspiracy theories that perhaps President Trump was “trying to make Russian interference seem not only trivial, but kind of fun” with this kind of drivel.
Trump's DHS is trying to make Russian interference seem not only trivial, but kind of fun! Nothing to worry about!— WillG (@iamwillgnyc) 20 июля 2019 г.
A few European users also got in on the act. “The German nation is divided over the question of whether Nutella can be eaten with butter. Now I know: the Russians want to divide our nation because of this question,” one user quipped.
The German nation is divided over the question of whether Nutella can be eaten with butter.— BakuninsTraum (@BakuninsT) 21 июля 2019 г.
Now I know: the Russians want to divide our nation because of this question.https://t.co/8kf1gDcb3q
Others took a more serious tone, with one user accusing the agency of telling Americans not to hold strong opinions or attend demonstrations, “because these might be organised by ‘the Russians’. Clearly intended to make us docile and obedient.” “Russians don’t need to divide Americans when they have organisations like yours to do their work for them,” another complained.
So this DHS warning is trying to tell Americans that if we hold strong opinions, we're only doing what the Russians want us to. Also, be careful you don't go to any demonstrations because these might be organised by "the Russians." Clearly intended to make us docile and obedient.— Empire in Decline (@compliancecamp) 21 июля 2019 г.
I was hoping this was satire but sadly its it's not. Unfortunately it shows the complete psychosis of those controlling the country. Their efforts to create fear and paranoia among the public really knows no bounds. Orwellian propaganda is alive and well in 21st century America.— 🌹Ms Rutabaga ✌️☮️ 🕊️ 🐝 🌎 (@rutabaga_ms) 20 июля 2019 г.
Russians don't need to divide Americans when they have organisations like yours to do their work for them.— Brian Guy (@ItsThatBriGuy) 20 июля 2019 г.