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Sun Jun 3, 2018, 04:03 PM

Don't Be Fooled: How to Spot a Russian Bot on Social Media

Interesting and timely article as we head into the 2018 elections. Ever notice how threads that attack Democrats virtually get pinned to the top of social media with numerous kicks and one line posts expressing agreement with headings like:

Why don't the Democrats have a plan?
(Insert name of Democrats) is a corporate loving, neo-liberal.
Sad, but true!
I really wish Democrats would fight trump harder.
I hear ya and thank you.
Agree.


The thread itself would also have a crazy amount of recs in a very short period of time. Well, perhaps those anti-Dem social media posts, with hundreds of one line kicks and numerous records is not by being promoted by real Democrats.

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/spot-russian-bot-social-media/

How sure are you that the person you’re passionately “debating” with online is a real, breathing person? How do you know whether they’re just another impassioned supporter of whatever topic and not someone with government (or other) backing?

* * *
Let’s start by differentiating bots and shills.

Bot: A bot is a fake social media account under the control of an organization or government seeking to influence the online community. For instance, a Twitter bot set to retweet certain hashtags and phrases in such volumes that it amplifies the specific topic. Another example is Reddit bots downvoting views disagreeing with the bot controller opinion (while upvoting those that do agree). Bots require volume for success on certain platforms, while at other times only a few can begin to shape the direction of a conversation.

Shill: A shill is different. Shills are real people actively engaging in the shaping of online (in this instance) discussion and opinion—while receiving payment in exchange for their presence. Shills promote companies, governments, public figures, and much more, for personal profit, essentially engaging in propaganda.

Depending on the organization or government, shills can work in conjunction with large bot networks to create intense vocal online movements. And while the combined efforts of shills and bots shape online opinion, these efforts are increasingly affecting more than just social media users.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Don't Be Fooled: How to Spot a Russian Bot on Social Media (Original post)
TomCADem Jun 2018 OP
renate Jun 2018 #1
C_U_L8R Jun 2018 #2
Blue_true Jun 2018 #4
Generic Brad Jun 2018 #5
Scurrilous Jun 2018 #3
TomCADem Jun 2018 #6

Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Sun Jun 3, 2018, 04:05 PM

1. I don't know why anybody bothers with arguing with a stranger on the Internet

Has ANYBODY, ANYWHERE, in all the history of the Internet, EVER changed their mind because of something they read in the comments to an article or news story? EVER?

It's stupid, it's a waste of time, trolls should just be IGNORED as a matter of principle. ALWAYS.

And I'm sorry about the all caps. It's just so frustrating. This country might not be in this position if arguing with paid trolls weren't so effective for them (and pointless in every other way).

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Sun Jun 3, 2018, 04:08 PM

2. Quite a few right here, it seems

Often they'll have a low post count (but may not be new)
and they may include a link to some site you never heard of

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 3, 2018, 04:14 PM

4. Exactly. How many times in the last month have you seen a post panning

democrats for not doing something that they have no power to do in the first place. And the posts always draw an Amen chorus of the Usual Suspects to comment and spew their own venom. We can't let the divisions of 2016 strike us again, Putin is working to muck up the midterms because he knows that if democrats gain control of Congress, his shit has a quick expiration date on it.

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 3, 2018, 04:20 PM

5. And they are intensifying their activity

It seems that a good 10% of the OP's in GD are put out there with the intention of pitting us against each other. There are conspiracy theories, race baiting, and bashing of Democratic leaders creeping in with an intensity not seen since the presidential election.

Every time I think I spot one, I check their profile and confirm that their chance of serving on a jury is significantly lower than average. They are pretty transparent despite their persistence.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Sun Jun 3, 2018, 04:11 PM

3. K&R

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Response to Scurrilous (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 10:22 PM

6. Also, Watch for Troll Bait Threads Designed To Elicit Attacks On Democrats

Women are winning a record number of races during the midterms. So, I would also expect a number of threads designed to cast doubt on charges of sexism, perhaps by bringing up Al Franken out of nowhere to attack Democratic women in Congress while giving Republicans a free pass on the rampant sexism in their party.

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