She’s Not Who They Think
I once wrote a post entitled Jesse White 4 Prez. I’d like to take it down, but I won’t. Doesn’t seem honest. The only post I’ve ever deleted was about a Facebook troll named Victoria Adams. I’m reposting it now.
I took a lot of grief for that 2012 post, and rightly so. I’d made accusations with no proof. I was operating on instinct, and while many of the fractivists I communicated with at the time didn’t disagree with my suspicions, it was wrong of me to single her out. Surely, she was spooked? Within hours of my naming Victoria Adams a troll, she disappeared from the Internet. Every last post, every comment, gone. So I left my apology up for about twelve hours then, scorched and regretful, I disappeared it, too.
I never thought we’d know who Victoria Adams really was.
ORIGINAL Post (Later Removed):
Meet Fake Fractivists and Facebook Trolls
The movie Promised Land has a surprising twist, and it offers an interesting parallel to a recent real-life revelation on Facebook. I mean, you think you know someone… Actually, you don’t because it’s Facebook, and you’re not an idiot.
It started with general suspicion, a friendly post from Dory Hippauf via Bill Ferullo warning fractivists to beware certain Facebook friends:
“Please de-friend Edward Matthews and Victoria Adams if you are anti-drilling. They are pro drillers who have managed to accumulate a ton of anti-fracking friends and thus when other anti-frackers see that they have have 100 or more mutual friends, people accept his friend request.”
It was also thought that there were a few aliases out there who were really Energy In Depth “guest bloggers.”
I, too, had been getting some odd friend requests lately. I’d even begun keeping a list of names that seemed suspect. Much as I love adding fb friends, if we don’t have any Likes or Friends in common – or if their page was born yesterday – I generally don’t respond.
So I checked my friends and sure enough, there’s Victoria Adams. A pretty blond with a lot of eye shadow who somehow slipped through my perfunctory, minimal screening. The handful of photos she’d posted seems innocuous enough. Her profile doesn’t yield much. It indicates that she’s single and lives in Pittsburgh.
Her wall includes a very horrible photo of EID’s Campaign Director, Tom Shepstone, with the words: “Industry Whore” and a little further down she called Matt Pizzarella of Range Resources a “no-class embarrassment.” Can’t argue with that! Nevertheless, I unfriended her, and removed her from the groups I administer.
Conjecture continued online for hours. I Googled her, found a Victoria Adams at Carnegie Mellon, and left it at that. More than a few people were inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. Simply Liking Chesapeake, Truthland and Frack Nation doesn’t make you a troll.
Tim Ruggiero commented: “I have nearly 5000 Friends on FB. I lose some from time to time, for whatever reason, and pick up others. I am frequently ‘reminded’ by some of my actual friends that I’m “friends’ with drillers, pro-industry and frackers. And to that, I usually say…SO WHAT? Because we disagree on some things means we can’t have discourse? That said, I have nothing to fear from those opposed to me or my views. I will ALWAYS have the TRUTH on my side. I don’t have to sell my ideas and opinions to anyone, not do I need to continually justify through TV, radio and newspaper advertising, FB, Twitter or any other media my opinions and actions.”
I suggested we message her and ask, and when I got the thumbs up from a trusted fb friend, I did:
“Hi Victoria, You are all the talk on fb today. There’s been much speculation that you might be a pro-fracking troll? That’s why you’re being de-friended left and right and kicked out of anti-fracking groups. I hope not! I hope you’re simply an open-minded and curious person who wants to learn more and isn’t afraid of social media. let me know and I’ll restore our friend status. Best to you (regardless of your views)……..Liz R.”
Adams never replied to me personally, but later she posted this comment on her wall:
“I swear to you I am NOT a gas industry troll. That got started as revenge for me posting that picture of Tom Shepstone from EID. I ‘liked’ pages like Truthland because I wanted to see what they were posting in my newsfeed so I could comment on it, and I have no idea who ‘Edward Matthews’ is. Please spread the word!”
It was Joanne Fiorito who found “Miz Vicky” out to be a genuine gas gal, connecting the dots Dory-style, starting with a simple Google search. “Victoria Adams is listed on p.36 of the Chesapeake Energy 2011 Annual Report, listed as an employee.”
A few more dots from Dory Hippauf help to fill in Adams’ bio a little more:
Ms. Adams is a member of Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Lease and Title Analysts. Her current job title appears to be Manager of District Land Records for Chesapeake Energy, Southern and Western Divisions. In 2010, Ms. Adams was credited for Chesapeake’s sponsorship of an aquatic ramp at a local YMCA. She also donated $100 to the Chesapeake Energy for Texans campaign in 2009.
My comment to Victoria: “So now we know… You might consider a more genuine existence, but hey, it’s your fracking karma.”
Then, after a little more thought: “Here’s the thing – you should feel free to engage antis, to debate, argue and even agree to disagree, but please don’t misrepresent yourself. That’s what your industry does in order to harm people.”
I examine her page one last time. Am I imagining it or have most of the posts been deleted? I don’t know what to make of this one, and probably never will. I see the only language she speaks is English. I’m hoping one day, Victoria Adams – and her wretched employer – might also learn to speak Truth.
[UPDATED POST INCLUDED THIS APOLOGY:]
It appears I may be wrong about Victoria Adams, and in the process I have inadvertently kicked a hornet’s nest, and for this I have been stung. So, after all the debate and accusations of paranoia and McCarthyism, I feel compelled to apologize and repost.
It was never my intention to engender paranoia, only to look out for those who work so hard for the cause of clean energy. If a hard-working activist such as Alex Lotorto, whom I take at his word, is willing to vouch for Victoria Adams, then it’s good enough for me.
I hope Adams will feel free to comment here, and that she will accept my sincere apology.
Former Working Hypothesis
It’s ironic that Victoria Adams‘ employer is actually the people of Pennsylvania, right?
I did save some of my correspondence with the UK fractivists who were kind enough to point out the error of my ways. I’m not kidding when I say I lost sleep over this.
Dear Johnny [Linehan] and Vanessa [Vine],
I wanted to make one last comment on the Victoria Adams affair. Not only has Ms. Adams vanished from facebook, she has also removed every comment she has ever made online, including archived news items running in Patch.com and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
We may never know the truth here, and I realize I was WRONG to jump the gun and broadcast my suspicions, but in my gut I know I am right about her trolling activities. Don’t you think it’s suspicious? If she was legitimate, she would have contacted someone, or at least responded to those who reached out to her personally? Might she not have told me where to stick it?
I had a chance to read her Patch comments before they were deleted (less than an hour after I posted my apology with Alex Lotorto’s link to them). She certainly sounded like an anti-, yet she only criticized Range Resources. In one thread, she challenged a commenter named “ProudAmerican” to reveal his true identity, accusing him of being a state senator who is an open supporter of Range. While I have even less proof now than before, it’s my opinion that she (or he) works for Chesapeake (which she never denied) and her objective was to pose as a fractivist and make Range look bad. While it may seem far-fetched, it’s entirely typical of Chesapeake corporate culture.
Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson: Discretion is the better part of valor. But in my humble (and humbled) opinion, Johnny, you should save your sadness and pity.
Meanwhile, I have decided to tear a page from Ms. Adams’ book and delete every mention I ever made of her. This has been a major distraction. Wiser and wearier, I am putting my focus back on the good work of fighting for clean energy. Many thanks for all your thoughts on this. I sincerely value my relationships with the genuine leaders of this cause, and I hold your opinions in high esteem. Please do take care!
Yours, In Solidarity……………..Liz
In recent months, Victoria Adams resurfaced on social media, where she even accepted my curiosity-driven friend request. Of course, now we know that White was Adams, among other online aliases. A genuine shocker, yet what’s most disappointing is that he said such inappropriate and offensive things. Hate is hate, no matter whose side you’re on. While I was having an epic moral dilemma in the Philly suburbs, an elected state official was busy crossing serious ethical lines. The last shred of my faith in politicians shattered, I’ve learned never to endorse anyone for president again.
Two DAs Say They’re Investigating Rep. Jesse White For Using Online Aliases by Timothy Puko and Brad Bumstead, The Tribune-Review, June 7, 2013.
The Strange Case of Rep. White, a/k/a “Victoria Adams” by John Baer, Daily News via Philly.com, June 7, 2013.