HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Americans Are Easy Marks ...

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 07:30 AM

Americans Are Easy Marks for Russian Trolls, According to New Data

A Daily Beast analysis of Twitter data shows the Kremlin troll farm’s English-language propaganda is nine times more effective than its disinformation in Russian.

Kevin Poulsen
10.31.18 5:10 AM ET

You don’t need to read the federal indictments to spot the moment Russia began targeting the United States with its army of internet trolls.

Just chart the American flag emoji. Best estimates trace the founding of the Internet Research Agency to August 2013, and for eight months of its existence the Saint Petersburg troll farm was focused on influencing citizens in Russia and Russia’s near abroad. Then in April 2014 the Kremlin-linked organization launched “Project Lakhta,” according to federal prosecutors, aimed squarely at the United States.

The IRA’s first American flag emoji appeared on Twitter the next month, first a trickle, and then a torrent. Over the next four years the Saint Petersburg troll farm unfurled 70,372 American flags, reaching peak flagness on August 12, 2017 when one IRA sockpuppet crammed 43 flags into a single tweet with the hashtag “MAGA.”

Whether by luck or design, the IRA’s campaign against America worked, and is still working. An examination of Twitter’s new dump of Russian troll data this month shows that the IRA’s tactics worked far better in the U.S. than in Russia or the Eastern European nations where the troll farm cut its teeth. English-language tweets by the IRA’s sockpuppet accounts enjoyed nine times the engagement than tweets in Russian and other languages. And, remarkably, Americans fell for the Russian interference even harder after the 2016 presidential election than before.

“Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia, they know Russia’s coming after them,” said Ryan Fox, a former NSA official now serving as COO of the smear-fighting startup New Knowledge. “They’ve been culturally trained to recognize Russia as a threat, so the skepticism of people in that region is pretty high... The U.S. was a far better environment for it to succeed.”


1 replies, 397 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply Americans Are Easy Marks for Russian Trolls, According to New Data (Original post)
DonViejo Oct 31 OP
mitch96 Oct 31 #1

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 08:55 AM

1. Classic Sun Tzu.

If win all without fighting is the nation's ultimate goal, then avoid strength, attack weakness is the key to achieving it. Attacking the opponent's weak points is a much more effective and efficient use of the nation's resources; it shortens the road to victory and increases the value of the victory.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread