Whataboutism as a defense for bad behavior has become endemic on social media in the last few months. My own phrase for this is “but they did it too!”.
As a defense, it has no merit. You wouldn’t accept it from your own misbehaving child.
However, if you are a partisan supporter and Your Side is in trouble, oh yes, it is a great defense.
Right now, the deployment of whataboutism is being orchestrated on social media by a bot network supporting the Trump administration. Twitter user Conspirador Norteño, who is a data scientist, has been analyzing the conflation of the names “Manafort” and “Podesta” in tweetstorms that have appeared since the announcement that Paul Manafort has been indicted. The conflation is a campaign to point the finger of guilt back at the Democratic Party, for whom Tony Podesta operated as a lobbyist.
Volume since midnight for tweets containing both "Manafort" and "Podesta". I'm guessing we haven't seen the end of this one yet. pic.twitter.com/Py52xFfCUj
— Conspirador Norteño (@conspirator0) October 30, 2017
It’s Whataboutism, Twitter-style. Don’t get played.