Former professional wrestler Peter Rosenberg talks to Jake Tapper about his work as a radio host and producer for the rock band Rise Against, and why it all came crashing down.
“I’d never seen anything like it on any level,” Rosenberg said. “The amount of energy and determination these hackers and their companies had to try to game the system.”
The entire episode is available on the News Nation, Saturday and Sunday at 6p ET.
According to Rosenberg, “one of our management had been getting a barrage of calls about inauthentic traffic and fake free traffic.”
The promoter was trying to send Rise Against to what looks like a hardcore American music festival, but it was actually a Russian site known for fake sites and listings. Rosenberg says hackers were especially searching for things like Roadrunner and Smash.
“The pitch was we could clear aside your six-figure budget and this dude, with a flowery bio and on a resume that you’d probably hire an A list to do, could make the Band look like they got covered financially,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg says he tried, but eventually he found out his alarm was not going to be going off, because the site was fake. The site would send a promoted tweet and notification telling Rise Against fans that there was free parking at the park, and a free t-shirt.
“I felt like we were manipulating the search for a good reason,” Rosenberg said. “It’s never inauthentic unless somebody is mistaken.”
However, Rosenberg left the project when he couldn’t accept the “inauthenticity” of it.
“That is the position for which you work,” Rosenberg said. “The revenue is not up to us.”
And if social media isn’t clear on what is real and what isn’t, Rosenberg says: “I can make the argument that making Russia, disinformation work for them more authentic and more sustainable, and I can make the argument that the stolen information that they are acquiring and using is destroying what is left of our democracy by being the most enduring form of radical change that has ever happened in the history of our country.”