Why I’m removing the “Fake Protests” Twitter post

UPDATE:  Yup, I’m pulling it.  Details below.

Dear Twitterverse, Girls and Boys, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Peoples of the Green Party and More,

Yes, I got it wrong.

While there’s no such thing as absolute certainty, I now believe that the busses that I photographed on Wednesday, November 9, were for the Tableau Conference 2016 and had no relation to the ongoing protests against President Elect Trump.

This information was provided to me from multiple professional journalists, and I do still have some faith in humanity.  🙂


Right Context, Wrong Facts?

I remain with a skeptical eye on just how much manipulation has occurred behind the scenes of many political events, but I do believe that these specific busses were used for a technology conference — nothing more.

I don’t know that Donald Trump was talking about me (posted 24 hours after my post), but he’s among many with doubts:

So, Why Remove?

I initially believed it was in the best interest of everyone to keep the Tweet live while augmenting the story.  I will indeed post a screenshot for posterity.

The realities of Twitter mean that many people see the Tweet without seeing my follow-ups and corrections.  Therefore, if I continue to show this Tweet on Twitter, then people will often see the retweets of the original Tweet without corrections alongside.  They will not know that the Tweet is incorrect.

As I have said before, I value the truth.  I will remove the Tweet so more people can have a higher proportion of truth in their lives.  I also want us all to refrain from repeating information that is likely untrue so that we can have greater credibility when our evidence is stronger.  (Less “boy who cried wolf”)

Why Not Remove?

There are some risks in removing this Tweet.

They include:

  • It sends the impression censorship has occurred — something I’m against
  • Some people will believe I was pressured to remove the Tweet or did so purely out of self-interest
  • It may reduce the dialog among all of us

Let’s not be afraid to say things when we aren’t completely sure, but let’s provide the right qualifiers and probabilities when we can.

Rapid discourse won’t always be fact-checked.  If it had to be, much of it simply wouldn’t occur.  That could be as bad as occasionally getting it wrong.  It’s not journalism, and it’s not to be held to the same bar.  (But this only works when everyone understands the “bar” is lower and exercises skepticism — another longer conversation for another time.)

Many Thanks!

I appreciate the conversations I’ve had with many in the “Twitterverse”.

I have tried to be magnanimous to many including those who disagree with me.  I value our ability to discuss with each other in a civil and respectful tone regardless of where our views may stand.  I’ve seen a good amount of that in these past few days, and I’d love to see more.

An Apology and a Promise

I would like to express my sincere apologies to anyone who feels misled.  I can assure you my intentions have always been for the best.  Now that I know just how wide these things can go so quickly, I’ll be more careful to give you the right information should there be a next time.

To the Future!

I am not a professional blogger nor a professional journalist. I do hope to find more ways to make a difference.  Being involved in political discourse is vital to democracy.

All the best,

Eric  🙂

Original Tweet here:


Published by

Eric Tucker

Co-Founder @Pocketmath

61 thoughts on “Why I’m removing the “Fake Protests” Twitter post”

    1. Morons. Morons writing Twitter posts, morons reading Twitter posts, morons electing Trump. We have become a country of morons. Maybe I was wrong about one thing. I argued that America never stopped being great. But if a country’s greatness is measured by the actions of its people and those people elected a classless baboon like Donald Trump then I guess he was right and I was wrong.

    2. Please dont listen to all the people hating. You made a mistake and its called being human. You then proved yourself better than most humans and went out of your way to be honest about it, admit it, and try to make it right.. there is no higher aspiration I could have than to be such a person whenever I mess up.

  1. Social media moves at lightning speed. Each of us has a responsibility to be accurate. Period. Removing false info has zero relationship to censorship. So now tens of thousands of people, including the incoming president, believe and continue to spread your false info. Shameful.

  2. Your “hope for an intelligent future” will come true only if you consciously commit yourself to intelligent analysis and thoughtful action.

  3. Since you don’t have time to “fact check” — i.e tell the truth and not gossip, you shouldn’t be on twitter, blog, FB, et etera. You’ve made things worse in the US!!

    1. Sue Marsh. Exactly. You have time to Twitter and Facebook and Blog but not FACT CHECK which takes a few moments??? If you can’t Fact Check, then don’t post!!!

  4. Mr. Tucker, I’m a bleeding heart liberal who considers fake news a huge problem in the US, and I commend you on your responsibility. Despite the fact your initial tweet sparked a flurry of fake news, and was partly echoed by President-elect himself, I wanted you to know I think your consequent actions were responsible and noble. A crucial part of democracy is realizing dissent is natural and desirable, and the words of the President-elect, who negates sincerely-held beliefs by the opposition by naming them paid crooks and, therefore, unfit to have a dialogue with, is damaging that part. While some parts of the opposition may forever brandish you as someone who “made things worse”, I believe it took you courage to accept and broadcast your culpability in this matter, and that this acceptance is making things better. Thank you for taking painful steps in order to strengthen our democracy.

  5. So what is really going on here is someone of a generation that has mobile technology as an extension of themselves, and takes it completely for granted. It’s the liberated feeling that all those “journalists” back in the 1960s felt when they started an alternative newspaper. (N.B. a few succeeded, most fell apart) Back in the “old days” someone would look at the buses and go something like “Huh I wonder what all those buses are for? Could they be connected with that big protest rally going on?” and then just wait for the news. Which is to say, there wasn’t a built-in mistrust of journalists doing their job, or a feeling of urgency that I, Joe Schmoe, could teach them a thing or two. Instead, we now have a large army of people able to broadcast and an equally large army of politicized cynics ready and waiting for the slightest bit of “information” to run off with.

    But I’m stating the obvious.

    Whether you believe that The New York Times is a liberally biased news organization, the fact of the matter is that their article about this is a crash course in what actual reporting is all about: getting as many angles as possible to suss out the truth. Anything LESS than that IS bias, or at best lazy.

  6. Eric, have fun trying to fix your reputation. Election is over and people have the right to demonstrate just like Trump had the right to say the things he did during the campaign (Obama is a Muslim, Cruz’s father was involved in JFK assassination etc). If i were you, i would be more concerned about my own professional future. Integrity means everything and you lost yours ! Hard to get back.

  7. Hey Eric, You know you could have simply walked over to the bus drivers of those and asked them if they were transporting protesters. Anyway – I’m posting a tweet that you are a pig fucker. In a couple days, if no pigs come forward to verify my claim, I’ll label the tweet false. You are a perfect example of what it means to be a follower of The Donald in a post fact world.
    And like The Donald you don’t give a shit about anyone but yourself. That’s why you vote “libertarian.”

  8. You are some retarded piece of shit! You still feel fine after what you just did? You are the perfect example of the cancer that executes our civilization

  9. If you don’t have time to fact-check don’t publish bullshit that doesn’t help absolutely anyone. Would it really have taken you more than five minutes of your life to get out of your car and walk over there to see what the fuck was going on? Seriously? I would much rather people like you who are contributing senseless “rapid discourse” really NOT share ANYTHING other than 9gag or Imgur jokes. There’s people out there who take imgur jokes seriously, so do all of us a favor and stop your “rapid discourse” that “won’t always be fast-checked”. Nobody needs it, really, nobody. There’s enough REAL journalists out there busting their asses to get the real news to us. It won’t be as bad as “occasionally getting it wrong”.

    What a dumb ass.

  10. interesting, you apologize to people who “feel” misled. That’s not an apology, telling a falsehood isn’t about “feelings”, it’s about facts, you DID mislead people. I will take you at your word that you didn’t intend to mislead, but it doesn’t speak well to your regard for honesty in the discourse that you couldn’t be bothered to fact-check. I commend you for admitting your mistake and trying to correct it, and I hope you’ve learned better.

  11. E, regardless of who you voted for, hopefully this reinforces how important it is to express ourselves with intellectual honesty. Also, letting frustrations (or your feeling of relief from these frustrations) to override your common sense, and basic fairness. Trump’s win was confusing, in large part because most people in this country including most people that voted for him had no idea what he was going to do next. At some point, you and the many trolls that echoed your lazy tweet, will understand that the attention it received was primarily motivated by the intense, worldwide wave of anxiety that arrived with suddenly finding ourselves in a vacuum, having elected a demagogue. Acting on an impulse to shape that disorder with something that in the moment you were certain about, is completely understandable. Human nature. But from this mistake I hope you’ve learned both: the potential for any one person to have impact, and some self-control. Stop making excuses for it, like you have on this page. You are only digging the hole deeper.

  12. How you ever got to the conclusion that those busses must have somehow carried “fake protesters” is beyond anyone’s guess. You didn’t see anyone get off the bus, you didn’t ask any questions. You just assumed without any clues or factual evidense that “those busses must have had fake protestors in them”. Why? Who knows. You are just an idiot.

  13. I teach history to high school sophomores. If they make unsubstantiated claims in a paper, then they receive a grade of “F,” and I send an email and a copy of the paper to their parents. At best, it is the height of intellectual laziness or gullibility; at worst, it’s deception. While I correct sophomores, I don’t blame them for being sophomoric. What’s your excuse?

    By the way, the juxtaposition of your claim to having a “skeptical eye” and your admission of having passed on false information that you didn’t bother to verify is the best laugh I’ve had this week. Thank you!

  14. Did anybody else notice that under Eric’s name at the top of this page it says “Hope for an intelligent future”? The irony hit me in just the right spot….

  15. You’re part of the problem, and just as much of an enemy to this country as paid Russian hackers and fake news outlets in Macedonia. You’re a traitor to the principles of liberty and justice I’m sure you pretend to take so seriously. Those principles are based upon truth and learned opinion. It is the oxygen they breathe. You and your moronic conspiracy theory friends are killing America. Smothering it. Depriving it of the air it needs one lie and untruth at a time. I hope you have a front row seat as Rome burns.

  16. Dumbshit. You are just a punk kid who thinks he knows everything, and lured by followers. Idiot. At least you removed your BS. Still a jerk.

  17. Kids like you are so naive — many of your freedoms will be revoked sometime in the future because of fake news and your despicable behavior. You will no longer have the ability to hide behind fake usernames so you can post sick and threatening comments on YouTube and elsewhere. I am sure you are already being tracked by the FBI and others. You already lost your anonymity. Too bad, but you are an asshole, as are all the other despicable people who think they are anonymous on the internet.

    1. I pray for the day when people won’t have the ability to hide behind fake usernames. Then they won’t spew such hatred. But this guy is out in the open making things up. The result is the United States has a president who brags about molesting women, then shrugs it off as locker room talk. Nice going USA.

    2. He isn’t a kid. He is 35 years old, old enough to vote, have children, behave like an adult. That said, you’re right. He’s an asshole. And a moron.

  18. Nah, chubs, you’re a VERY BUSY BUSINESSMAN; who checks claims before they do anything in business? Better hope you do as much due diligence with your BUSY BUSINESS as you do…well, not a whole lot else.

  19. you’re scared that deleting this tweet would risk censorship? what?
    – nobody is forcing you to take it down
    – the tweet spread information that was simply not true.

    i don’t see how you consider this to be censorship.

  20. A whole lot of time, but not much brain power has been wasted on this; perhaps the symptom of the next four years. We can now add energy to the bliss of ignorance.

  21. Congratulations — you helped elect a guy whose only ambition is to impress everyone with his wealth and greatness. Good luck ever being able to get your social security, healthcare and any other government programs you might need in the future, because they will all be history in short order. You will pay into them all, and never get any of it back. All for a 70 year-old idiot who doesn’t give a shit about you.

  22. You are a complete idiot. Thank you for fanning the flames of bigotry and hate. And then to go ahead and qualify your “apology” by saying there’s no such as absolute certainty – why can’t you just admit to the fact that you fucked up, spread an enormous lie, and quit the bullshit insinuation that there might still remain the possibility of a conspiracy. Put on your big girl panties and fucking own the catastrophe you created! YOU FLAT OUT LIED! THERE’S NO QUALIFIER!

  23. As a marketing professional who has worked in the industry for years, I’m honestly ASHAMED that someone who represents the industry would do something so negligent and downright stupid.

    You tweeted something that’s public for the world to see and you didn’t realize you had “such a big audience”? Use your common sense (you do work in mobile advertising after all). Co-founder or not, I hope you know how lucky you are still have that job. Good like trying to get clients for your wee little mobile advertising platform now!

  24. You don’t value the truth whatsoever. You are a flake and a complete jerk. You’re a fraud, a fake and an asshole. Go to hell jackass.

  25. You are a bloated scumbag. You try to sound like you know something, but it is clear you are just a fat slob with a computer.

  26. Mr. Tucker,
    I had several friends share the FreeRepublic post, so I checked it out through FR and the original Reddit thread. Nobody had any actual information. It was all speculation. On the Reddit thread they were discussing whether or not is ok to beat information out of the bus drivers who were Soros’ puppets.

    Those few words and photos, carelessly posted in the thrill of the moment had others talking about _beating the bus drivers_ and likening those same bus drivers to nazi camp guards.

    You may indeed be a very busy businessperson, but you absolutely need to fact check everything you say. I am sure that you’ve been far busier in the fallout of this lie than you were before spreading the lie and than you would have been had you not lied in the first place.

    As you hope for an intelligent future I would suggest you make a more concerted effort to conduct yourself intelligently and with integrity in the continually-ongoing present. No sense waiting for a someday when you can be intelligent now.

  27. You call your blog “hope for an intelligent future”? That’s hilarious, given your utter lack thereof. How much intelligence does it take to verify facts instead of making shit up? Is your marketing business as full of bullshit as your tweets? No integrity. And you’re so busy, I’ll bet you were tweeting while driving. BOOM!

  28. so here’s a thing: you aren’t sorry.

    oh, you’re sorry your lazy ass got caught making up wild conspiracy theories. and I think you’re sorry people are able to easily identify you as the single source of fake news. but you aren’t actually sorry that you perpetuate the left’s opinion of the right: ignorant, arrogant, proud to ‘contribute’ to a clusterfuck of uninformed/dis-informed voters.

    if you were actually sorry, there would be some – hell, ANY – reflection on your lack of evidence, lack of effort to even vaguely corroborate your premise, lack of explanation (still!!) for how ‘string of vehicles’ = paid protesters. I can’t even imagine how you get to your original conclusion, and neither can you. I know this because you don’t back down on the original tweet. you just say ‘proven false, oops.’

    maybe you should go with ‘my original tweet was idiotic and utter fiction’ instead of ‘oops got that one wrong’ because only THEN will you even approach actually thinking.

  29. Eric, you look like a young person. So I’ll cut you a little slack for your sloppy thinking. Unfortunately, you’re not alone in that, as apparently 50,000,000+ people decided that voting for Donald Trump (and your knowledge-challenged candidate, Gary Johnson) was a good and logical act.

    You were not only wrong about what you thought you saw, you were wrong about Hilary Clinton, who, if she’d won the election, wouldn’t have tweeted what a bone-headed mistake you made if her opponent’s supporters had been the protestors.

    Reality is a slippery thing. I hope you’ve learned that a lot of what you believe is real, especially about reality isn’t and that, going forward, you’ll look at and think about other viewpoints than those on one (far) end of the political spectrum.

  30. Everyone here being unnecessarily angry are incredibly pathetic. You hypocritical lots only further the idiotic message that owning up to mistakes is the WRONG thing to do. There is just no pleasing spoiled children who think they’re entitled to bitch and moan about how other people should act. If they were in charge, freedom of speech would be dead by the end of the day. Eric you did what was correct, didn’t really matter whichever way you went about handling it, but props for choosing to remove it.

  31. Did you read about operation Jade Helm last summer? It was a typical army exercise. But Texas Republicans went hysterical. The story was that Obama is coming to take your guns away, then you’ll be locked up in a Wallmart basement and forced to marry a gay illegal Kenyan. Even the governor weighed in on it. No one has yet to announce if those people in the Wallmart have been released. Nor has anyone commented on the hysterical Texans. Item 2; Does the 2nd amendment give you the right to shoot the mailman or a low-level government employee like a census taker, if you feel your civil rights and liberties are at risk? Also, how would that defend one’s civil liberties?

  32. Eric,
    When I saw your Twitter post on 11/9, I was actually thankful that someone got pictures of those buses. You see, my daughter and I were driving west on FM1431 to an appt just before noon on that Wednesday. As we approached the Parker Ln intersection, we drove upon 4-5 of those buses turning south onto Parker. My daughter commented on how strange it was to see these buses on a road other than I35. And wondered where they would be going in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. However, we went about it day.
    Several hours later, I saw the first news updates start coming in about protesters gathering downtown and I immediately though how coincidental it was that the protests began just hours after those buses arrived. I believed it to be more than a coincidence. Also, I had recently come across the Craigslist job ads for organizations such as Grassroots Campaigns who hire people to hold ‘demonstrations.’ All of this information put together actually made a pretty good case for the protests to be in fact, fake.
    Please don’t allow the MSM to bully you just because you tweeted something that may have revealed something they wanted to keep hidden. It might just be that they wanted to shut you up because your tweet posed a threat.
    Something to think about…

    1. “All of this information put together actually made a pretty good case for the protests to be in fact, fake.
      Please don’t allow the MSM to bully you just because you tweeted something that may have revealed something they wanted to keep hidden. It might just be that they wanted to shut you up because your tweet posed a threat.”

      Do you not realize that there is quite literally empirical evidence that proves that these buses were not used for the purpose of transporting paid protestors?

      1. Except that the Bus company said those buses were for a computer conference. Did you read about operation Jade Helm last summer? It was a typical army exercise. But Texas Republicans went hysterical. The story was that Obama is coming to take your guns away, then you’ll be locked up in a Wallmart basement and forced to marry a gay illegal Kenyan. Even the governor weighed in on it. No one has yet to announce if those people in the Wallmart have been released. Nor has anyone commented on the hysterical Texans. Do you understand the word “hysterical”?

    2. Dear Mr Tucker,
      He who criticizes must also have the heart to help. So in that spirit and assuming that the wish for a more intelligent future expressed at the top of this blog page is sincere, let’s examine Miss Mendacity’s or Miss Melodramatic’s post above.
      While the claims made in the post have already been debunked on snopes (http://www.snopes.com/craigslist-ad-trump-rally/ and http://www.snopes.com/anti-trump-protesters-bused-into-austin/) and in the the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/media/how-fake-news-spreads.html), a little close reading is often instructive. Before beginning, keep in mind wisdom often attributed to Julius Caesar, “Men willingly believe what they wish.” Something that flatters our perception of the world needs to be scrutinized the most. It’s probably the hardest thing to do in this life and I often fail. Second, in case you don’t already know it, look up the definition of “ben trovato” and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

      “You see, my daughter and I were driving west on FM1431 to an appt just before noon on that Wednesday.”
      Notice the generic detail that’s neither confirmable nor deniable. A specific is thrown in (FM1341). That’s to lull you into thinking that the person has first-hand knowledge. This is designed to gain credibility, although even if M. did happen by the buses, there’s nothing that establishes a connection between them and “professional protestors”
      “My daughter commented on how strange it was to see these buses on a road other than I35.” Ah, the plot thickens. “My daughter”–who’s that and how old? Five? Fifteen? Fifty? And what is unusual about a tour bus not being on I35 or any other interstate highway? Do most journeys end on freeways? I have never taken a tour bus just to sleep at some freeway motel. Even if M. and mini-M saw the buses, there’s nothing unusual about them not being on the freeway. For example, “I found it strange that a police car was patrolling my street, only four weeks after I saw another here.” I’m trying to create the impression of something unusual when in fact it’s not.
      “I believed it to be more than a coincidence.” Yes, and I believe that the Tooth Fairy is simply another incarnation of Satan. I also believe in living gnomes; it’s more than a coincidence that so many people have put decoys of them in their yards. If they didn’t exist, why would so many people seem to be trying to lure them with decoys, the way a hunter lures ducks?
      “Also, I had recently come across the Craigslist job ads for organizations such as Grassroots Campaigns who hire people to hold ‘demonstrations.” This one is easy. It’s false. This is easily confirmable with a few searches. Now, there’s this gem: http://abcnews.com.co/donald-trump-protester-speaks-out-i-was-paid-to-protest/ , but notice it’s not from abcnews.com but abcnews.com.co, a satire or hoax website. M. has seen no craigslist job ads for professional protestors because there have been none on craiglist. There have been some faked on other sites.
      “All of this information put together actually made a pretty good case for the protests to be in fact, fake.” No, all of this misinformation, unconfirmable claims, and one outright fabrication doesn’t make a good case for anything except that M. is either trying to bait you into renewing your belief in the bought-and-paid-for protest in Austin or that she’s not the most intelligent liar as her claims are based on non-existent ads that and have already been exposed as frauds. Here’s a coincidence: the Tableau Conference, the source of the mysterious buses that somehow managed to accomplish the unusual trick of traveling on a road that wasn’t an interstate highway, was this conference https://tc16.tableau.com/ . Notice the dates, November 7-11. Ask yourself, five day conference? Five-day work week? Hmmm….
      “Please don’t allow the MSM to bully you…” This is a form of question-begging, in this case, of making a plea that assumes premises that haven’t been established. Has MSM been bullying you? If so, how? Now, if you can do that, then we can have a discussion, assuming that we can agree on what constitutes bullying.
      “It might just be that they wanted to shut you up because your tweet posed a threat.” Notice how rapidly this shifts from speculation: “might just be” to certainty “because your tweet posed a threat.” A threat? Huh? How? To whom? MSM…shut you up?” Please. If the tweet posed any threat at all, it was to your own reputation.
      Now, let me come back to the purpose of this little exercise: a more intelligent future. As I was taught long ago, you haven’t _read_ anything until you’ve _thought_ about what you’ve read. It’s hard these days with the information overload. But don’t simply believe until you see a demonstrated cause and effect. If, say, a secretary of state (and former army general) holds up a vial on TV and says it’s a dangerous chemical, don’t believe that it’s anything but a vial until until you are shown differently. If he shows you a satellite photo of a building, well, it’s a satellite photo of a building until a connection with a weapons program is established. If I tell you that my dog caught a thief in our house last night, tied him up, called 9-11, and held a gun on the thief until the police arrived, and add that if you don’t believe me then there’s the dog right there, all I’ve established is that there’s a dog there.
      Self-government is a reasoned activity (but don’t take my word for it, take Aristotle’s, Burke’s, Jefferson’s, J.S. Mill’s and a host of others’). To reason well requires accurate evidence and long reflection (and those hardly ensure sound conclusions). Don’t unthinkingly undermine self-government (and your own reputation) by carelessly passing on what flatters your opinions. Again, that’s when you have to be the most alert.
      A couple of more pieces of friendly advice. If you are indeed a very busy businessman, then maybe you don’t have the time to properly vet information of whatever political stripe. And a couple of good history courses, especially those that emphasize document analysis and how to establish corroboration do wonders for the mind. Good luck and here’s to a more intelligent future. My guess it’s one that involves much less social media.

    3. YOU are clearly what is wrong with your fu*ked-up country. And to think that you are allowed to PROCREATE!! Frightening beyond belief. One can only PITY you poor daughter, having to be raised by such a COMPLETE MORON.

  33. LOL!!!
    Brilliant how you now have outed yourself as yet another classic PATHETIC, BRAINLESS, BUTT-MUNCHING DOUCHE-MUPPET that any and every Drumpf supporter is. Apparently making up nearly HALF the U.S. Congratulations to your star-spangled-AWESOME country!! You can keep it.
    A bus full of protesters MY ASS. Hilarious what feeble minded BUTT-F**KS you Drumpfers are…

  34. Maybe next time you shouldn’t jump to conclusions and tweet something with absolute certainty. Outrageous claims require outrageous proof.

  35. I’m sorry there are so many hateful, bigoted people replying to your blog. Especially people who say you are like cancer. The real problem with society today is that my generation is 40% less empathetic than college students 20 years ago. Every single person swearing at you is acting like a carnal animal. They have no honor. Fake news is an issue, but every single person who considered you a source are themselves ignorant. In the words of a wise man, who is more foolish? The man who follows the fool or the fool himself? I my self wouldn’t have made a claim such as yours but it wasn’t unfounded… and had reason behind it.

    Also biggest Irony: The left claims to be “tolerant” and “accepting” of all and yet they aren’t “tolerant” of conservatives. They claim that the Right is “racist” and “Sexist” yet we have African Americans, Hispanics, Woman, and others in offices through out the country. Lets not forget which party was the party of Abraham Lincoln, and which one was the party of Jim Crow Laws( Democrat if you forgot history).

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