Keir Starmer’s AstroTurf Campaign

I was recently scrolling through Twitter when I and many others stumbled across a rather curious tweet from an account called Rejoin/Rebuild, a twitter account that campaigns for people to join the Labour party to vote for the leadership but seems to show only 4 candidates omitting Rebecca Long-Bailey entirely. This struck me as rather odd so I decided to have a look into exactly who Rejoin/Rebuild are. Their twitter bio claims they are a grassroots campaign that are trying to ‘Rebuild and Unify’ the Labour party to win in 2020

The account has been in operation since September 2019 and seems to have started out as way to boost Sally Gimson in her campaign to become Bassetlaw Mp before she was deselected over comments made concerning protected characteristics — this can relate to issues surrounding race, disability and sexuality. It even contains an endorsement for Sally Gimson from Labour leadership hopeful Keir Starmer where he gives her his full backing even after the allegations came out. Then on December 13th it takes a massive swerve and starts campaigning for people to join the Labour party retweeting various Labour right figures as well as starting to boost Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips.

The whole account struck me as odd so I decided to do a little digging to find out what it was starting with a quick google search to see if there was any information on the account and to see exactly what was going on. I was instantly presented with a number of articles from around 21st December that all talked about, a website that was connected to the Twitter account and to a Facebook account all with the same branding that seemed to be harvesting data from users but without any details on who or what that data was being used for. The site was shuttered soon after these details came to light but not before someone saved a snapshot of the site in the WayBackMachine. Searching the history of the site through WHOIS and various articles and threads it shows that the site was registered by a company called Wilder Digital, a ‘digital engagement agency for progressive causes’ according to its rather bare website, another quick google shows that this is a social media campaign consultancy firm owned by one Mr Tom Lillywhite.

Now who is Tom Lillywhite? Well apart from being the direct