Yang Gang Busted: Campaign Website Has A Fraudulent Donation Counter

The Yang Gang viral campaign hits a hitch as its website donation counter is exposed as fake.


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6 comments, 294 shares, 14 points

Yangsters will be disappointed to hear that the campaign website of their presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been publicly displaying a fake individual donation counter. Yang advertises this fraudulent individual donor counter due to a recent rule change by the Democrat primary committee that allows any candidate to enter the debate as long as they reach a total of 65,000 individual donations.

Yang has been accused by some in the media of running a forced viral campaign in a bid to boost his total individual donation contribution count.

Yang's website contains a professionally animated counter which displays his goal of 65,000 donations. Which, at the time of writing displayed a total of 57,324 individual donors. The new Democrat rule's deadline of May 15th is also displayed on the website.

Internet sleuths on /pol/ dug into the website javascript code (archived here)  and made a terrible realization: the code behind the counter is rigged. Keep the highlighted segment of code in mind, we will explain what's going on there shortly.

Yang's donation counter is rigged to read in a value from the website's backend, which seems to be fixed to 43,800 at the time of writing when accessed directly. When archived through webcitation.org, we found a value of 45,000. Both of these values are unequal, round figures. This isn't the only problem though. One must wonder, why is the counter currently displaying 57,324? We asked our Anime Right expert coding waifus to explain what is going on with the code to cause this to happen. Here's what they had to say.

"The donation counter, which is suspicous on its own, is further rigged by adding the number of minutes since midnight March 1st. This can be confirmed by changing your time zone forward or backwards an hour to observe the change in the total number of donations displayed. This means that according to our calculations, if the basis value of the counter does not change, Yang's website is guaranteed to claim that he has reached the threshold of 65,000 individual donations by March 14th."

This means that Yang is rigging his publicly displayed individual vote count by 1 donor every minute. It is unclear whether this kind of rigged count violates the Democratic National Committee rules. We have reached out to Andrew Yang for comment and will keep you posted.

Update: Web administrators confirm manually editing the count

After the publication of this article, the publicly displayed donation counter javascript code has been updated with the following comment:

/* What's up internet. We know you're all over this. Here's how it works. We have to pull this data from a 3rd party provider, ActBlue. It's slow. So we do it manually. Thus we take our current growth rate and run at that rate every day. It's been about 1 new person per minute. We then reset manually every 24 hours. It's a little behind the real number but as accurate as we can get. We'll report the most hyper accurate number every quarter to the FEC. Thanks for always keeping us honest. #yanggang #SecureTheBag

This confirms that the publicly displayed counter is inaccurate as we  uncovered but does not explain why the backend counter also seems to return different counts depending on what machine you access it from. Also the rate being "about" one a minute does not explain why there is no rate multiplier, we would have to accept that the rate has been constant despite the candidate going viral in the last few days.

Nevertheless the transparency on their part is commendable. We can only hope that the programmers pick up a textbook on extrapolation, for example using Newton's finite differences, which could give them a much more accurate count without having to manually "reset" the counter every 24 hours.


tokumei

I'm in the data BASED

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6 Comments

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  1. To be fair, this is a pretty common thing for sites to do for counters that don’t constantly send you live data. The difference is that usually every time you refresh you get the new live value set.
    I think it is acceptable now that they have added a disclaimer about it.

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