Russian Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win
Until recently Facebook has gotten all the (negative) attention in terms of Russian fake news for Donald Trump during the election. This week that’s started to change. It turns out, that Twitter is way behind Facebook in even admitting there’s a problem.
“In presentations to congressional investigators and a post on its site, Twitter said it found 201 accounts on its service linked to Russian actors that Facebook Inc. recently identified as having run ads meant to sow political and social division. In addition, Twitter said the Russian-backed news site RT, which a U.S. intelligence report said aimed to meddle in the election, bought $274,100 of ads on Twitter last year. That compared with $152,000 that Facebook said Russian actors spent on its site.”
Still, this ‘revelation’ by Twitter impressed no one.
Senator Mark Warner: Twitter's response on Russian bots 'disappointing on every level' https://t.co/wUc384FR0y
— mike sax (@mikesaxny2) September 29, 2017
Why not? Because it was totally derivative of what Facebook had already revealed. The same accounts on FB also had Twitter accounts. And Twitter refused to offer any new information about the usage by the bots whatsoever.
“But Twitter’s comments left unclear the extent of the problem, including how many accounts attempted to spread misinformation or violated Twitter’s rules, and how users interacted with those tweets.”
“Twitter in its statement identified only accounts that corresponded to the roughly 450 Russian-linked accounts that Facebook had identified as purchasing $150,000 in ads to provoke political tension.”
“Twitter said it found 22 accounts with corresponding Facebook accounts that Facebook said had Russian links, and another 179 with ties to those accounts. The company said it suspended some of those accounts for violating its rules. It also suspended bots that spread misleading information about voting, such as ones that said Americans could “text-to-vote.”
“The manipulation of Twitter by bots, automated accounts that can be programmed to pump up chosen topics, is widespread, researchers say.”
Emilio Ferrara, a assistant research professor in computer science at the University of Southern California, said that bots on Twitter were an important part of the election discussion. “Twenty percent of the tweets that people saw during the one month leading up to the election—those were generated by bots,” he said.
One thing you should do if you want to track Russian activity on Twitter is keep up with Julian Assange’s account. Here’s what he RTed just yesterday:
Emails show Facebook's top officials may have colluded with campaign https://t.co/hLolvaFdN2
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) September 29, 2017
Yes that’s a RT post Assange RTed there.
Mother Jones has more on Russian fake news on Twitter during the election:
“Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyperpoliticized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to new research published Thursday by Oxford University.”
“Nationwide during this period, one polarizing story was typically shared on average for every one story produced by a professional news organization. However, fake news from Twitter reached higher concentrations than the national average in 27 states, 12 of which were swing states—including Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, where Trump won by slim margins.”
Efforts by Vladimir Putin’s regime were among the polarizing content captured in the new Oxford study. “We know the Russians have literally invested in social media,” Bradshaw told Mother Jones, referring to reports of Russian-bought Facebook ads as well as sophisticated training of Russian disinformation workers detailed in another recent study by the team. “Swing states would be the ones you would want to target.”
“The dubious Twitter content in the new study also contained polarizing YouTube videos–including some produced by the Kremlin-controlled RT network, which were uploaded without any information identifying them as Russian-produced. All the YouTube videos have since been taken down, according to Bradshaw; it’s unclear whether the accounts were deleted by the users, or if YouTube removed the content.
“The Oxford researchers captured 22 million tweets from November 1 to November 11 in 2016, and they have been scrutinizing the dataset to better understand the impact of disinformation on the US election. The team has also analyzed propaganda operations in more than two dozen countries, using a combination of reports from trusted media sources and think tanks, and cross-checking that information with experts on the ground. Their recent research has additional revelations about how disinformation works in the social-media age, including from Moscow.”
As is correctly said, this is the new brand of military warfare:
“In studying Russia’s propaganda efforts targeting both domestic and international populations, the Oxford researchers found evidence of increasing military expenditures on social-media operations since 2014. They also learned of a sophisticated training system for workers employed by Putin’s disinformation apparatus: “They have invested millions of dollars into training staff and setting targets for them,” Bradshaw says. She described a working environment where English training is provided to improve messaging for Western audiences: Supervisors hand out topical talking points to include in coordinated messaging, workers’ content is edited, and output is audited, with rewards given to more productive workers.”
“The Oxford researchers also found that bots infiltrated the core conversations among their Twitter data during the election period—and several of their analyses revealed that bots supported Trump much more than Hillary Clinton. A separate research effort by Emilio Ferrara at the University of Southern California, cited in Oxford’s report, determined that about one-fifth of campaign-related tweets during the month before the election likely were generated by bots. Ferrara’s team recorded 4 million tweets during that time period posted by about 400,000 bots. ”
Mother Jones does relate that, Germany, however-unlike us-was able to fight off the fake news scourge. Maybe partly from our example?
In other news, we must get to the bottom of what happened in that election and to do that we need a Democratic House.
I hope to join a Democratic House in January, 2019 ready to get serious about getting to the bottom Russian interference in this election and ending our legitimacy crisis.
Vote for Mike Sax NY2. I’m Mike Sax.
P.S. Hello! I’m Mike Sax Democratic candidate for NY2. If you want to ride the Impeachment Train all the way to Washington DC in 2019 then please vote for me, Mike Sax NY2.
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