Synthetic Messenger, botnet performance on climate change


Misinformation about climate change has historically been spread by right-wing, denialist and industrial polluter groups. Various strategies include the automated production and distribution of content via fake social media profiles. In this regard, Synthetic Messenger, a project by Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne, is particularly emblematic. It is a botnet performance that artificially boosts climate news: every day, articles about climate change are automatically found online and an army of a hundred bots visit each page (millions of them per week) and click on each ad. The system ran for four weeks and was made visible through a Zoom call. Results aside, the artists admittedly do not offer a solution to the problem, but their performance exposes the advertising-dependent media ecology and its distortion of an important issue in a subversive and powerful gesture.


Tega Brain, Sam Lavigne – Synthetic Messenger