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Tue Nov 26, 2019, 09:30 AM

That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/russia-troll-2020-election-interference-twitter-916482/

Here’s what Russia’s 2020 disinformation operations look like, according to two experts on social media and propaganda.

By DARREN LINVILL & PATRICK WARREN

Internet trolls don’t troll. Not the professionals at least. Professional trolls don’t go on social media to antagonize liberals or belittle conservatives. They are not narrow minded, drunk or angry. They don’t lack basic English language skills. They certainly aren’t “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds,” as the president once put it. Your stereotypical trolls do exist on social media, but the amateurs aren’t a threat to Western democracy.

Professional trolls, on the other hand, are the tip of the spear in the new digital, ideological battleground. To combat the threat they pose, we must first understand them — and take them seriously.

On August 22, 2019, @IamTyraJackson received almost 290,000 likes on Twitter for a single tweet. Put in perspective, the typical tweet President Trump sends to his 67 million followers gets about 100,000 likes. That viral tweet by @IamTyraJackson was innocent: an uplifting pair of images of former pro football player Warrick Dunn and a description of his inspiring charity work building houses for single mothers. For an anonymous account that had only existed for only a few months, “Tyra” knew her audience well. Warrick’s former coach, Tony Dungy, retweeted it, as did the rapper and producer Chuck D. Hundreds of thousands of real users viewed Tyra’s tweet and connected with its message. For “Tyra,” however, inspiring messages like this were a tool for a very different purpose.

The purpose of the Tyra account, we believe, was not to spread heartwarming messages to Americans. Rather, the tweet about Warrick Dunn was really a Trojan horse to gain followers in a larger plan by a foreign adversary. We think this because we believe @IamTyraJackson was an account operated by the successors to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA). Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted the IRA for waging a massive information war during the 2016 U.S. election. Since then, the IRA seems to have been subsumed into Russia’s Federal News Agency, but its work continues. In the case of @IamTyraJackson, the IRA’s goal was two-fold: Grow an audience in part through heartwarming, inspiring messages, and use that following to spread messages promoting division, distrust, and doubt.

..more..

36 replies, 6459 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It (Original post)
G_j Nov 26 OP
Hugin Nov 26 #1
FM123 Nov 26 #2
homegirl Nov 26 #12
rzemanfl Nov 26 #3
Johnny2X2X Nov 26 #4
PatrickforO Nov 26 #22
Johnny2X2X Nov 26 #23
orleans Nov 27 #32
Maraya1969 Nov 26 #27
Crash2Parties Nov 27 #30
smirkymonkey Nov 26 #5
JudyM Nov 26 #6
Mike 03 Nov 26 #7
2naSalit Nov 26 #8
PatSeg Nov 26 #9
CaptYossarian Nov 26 #15
PatSeg Nov 26 #18
CaptYossarian Nov 26 #24
B Stieg Nov 26 #10
getagrip_already Nov 26 #11
PatSeg Nov 26 #19
keithbvadu2 Nov 26 #13
brooklynite Nov 26 #14
Peacetrain Nov 26 #16
G_j Nov 26 #25
PoindexterOglethorpe Nov 26 #17
Maraya1969 Nov 26 #28
SammyWinstonJack Nov 27 #35
ancianita Nov 26 #20
PatrickforO Nov 26 #21
lordsummerisle Nov 26 #26
NCLefty Nov 26 #29
Celerity Nov 27 #34
OhNo-Really Nov 27 #31
greyl Nov 27 #33
Ligyron Nov 27 #36

Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 09:35 AM

1. Geeze...

And an army of bots to get the flow moving.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 09:36 AM

2. Excellent article!

Everyone should read this. While there is much that we already know, there is also lots that we don't...

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Response to FM123 (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 11:53 AM

12. AND

pass it on!!!

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 09:36 AM

3. K&R. n/t

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 09:40 AM

4. What is the Dem's plan to deal with this?

We will not win in 2020 without an advanced and well funded plan to counteract this. I have to hear a single Democrat address this.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 02:21 PM

22. Not so. Several have come out in quite strong terms. Here's

a link to Ballotpedia where you can read their specific comments. https://ballotpedia.org/2020_presidential_candidates_on_Russia

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #22)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 02:27 PM

23. Here's what I want to see

The Democratic party needs to have a $multi million dollar high tech campaign to combat the micro targeted ads on Facebook and other social media platforms. I've heard nothing about that. And it's not just Russia, the GOP has a team of technical experts directing millions of micro ads that are literally brainwashing voters, and not just Trump voters, but sowing doubt and discord into factions of Democratic voters.

This is how they won in 2016, if we don't have our own equal operation, we do not stand a chance.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #23)

Wed Nov 27, 2019, 01:19 AM

32. perhaps this is where andrew yang could be of assistance n/t

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #22)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 05:50 PM

27. If Bloomfield really wanted to help he would take 30 million and dedicate it to ruining

Russian disinformation.

Where are the other Democratic billionaires?

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Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #27)

Wed Nov 27, 2019, 12:00 AM

30. Instead, he's buying 100's of climate change related search terms on Google...

...to direct people to his campaign ads.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 09:42 AM

5. Kicked and bookmarked!

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 09:50 AM

6. K&R. Important.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 09:51 AM

7. From the article

Russian disinformation is not just about President Trump or the 2016 presidential election. Did they work to get Trump elected? Yes, diligently. Our research has shown how Russia strategically employed social media to build support on the right for Trump and lower voter turnout on the left for Clinton. But the IRA was not created to collude with the Trump campaign. They existed well before Trump rode down that escalator and announced his candidacy, and we assume they will exist in some form well after he is gone. Russia’s goals are to further widen existing divisions in the American public and decrease our faith and trust in institutions that help maintain a strong democracy. If we focus only on the past or future, we will not be prepared for the present. It’s not about election 2016 or 2020.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 11:03 AM

8. K&R

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 11:09 AM

9. These people are really good at what they do

We should be very concerned and extremely vigilant whenever we are online.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 12:07 PM

15. Their command of the English language is impeccable.

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Response to CaptYossarian (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 12:39 PM

18. And their understanding

of our society and social media habits. This isn't the result of some two week training course, these are real professionals.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 03:16 PM

24. Maybe Zuckerberg is teaching them in St. Petersburg personally.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 11:25 AM

10. I never re-Tweet anything

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 11:48 AM

11. I don't use twitter for a reason.....

I do have an account, but I don't use it. I get why people like it, but I've decided to not it, or facebook.

But these bots are getting very sophisticated. They have begun working in swarms, reporting posters they don't like to effectively silence them in a conversation. That leaves only those that either agree or just listen. Making for a very lopsided conversation.

But sites like du seem to be on the way out (not du, not yet, but other standalone sites have been depleted in favor of fb, twitter, and even whatsapp groups), so my time may be limited.

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Response to getagrip_already (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 12:41 PM

19. I have a Twitter account

only so I can occasionally see a post, but I rarely go there. I really don't get the appeal, but I've known people who became addicted to it.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 12:03 PM

13. +1

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 12:06 PM

14. I don't share "uplifting tweets" from trolls

I only respond to or retweet content from people I know....

...unless I'M a Russian troll.....

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 12:18 PM

16. Great minds think alike.. I am going to cross post your op into mine in DU Primaries

I was trying to explain to someone about how the trolls are pushing ageism on our top 3.. but this is even scarier.. because as I said to one of the posters.. the trolls are so much more sophisticated this time around.. and no where near as obvious.. but they are there in greater numbers

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Response to Peacetrain (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 05:00 PM

25. That is a great place for it

certainly! essential

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 12:28 PM

17. Not on Twitter,

but I see things like that on FB often enough. I don't share them

I especially dislike when someone posts something "heartwarming" and urges everyone to repost. Nope. Not gonna do it at your command. If I actually like something enough to share, I'll make a separate post of my own.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #17)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 06:02 PM

28. I hate that too and I purposely will not do it. But what do you think about this?

I think this post is manipulative and typical of the bullshit I see from Trump supporters and could possible be from a Russian bot too.

I think it is trying to get people to stop criticizing this president. I actually posted a bunch of links to some of the horrible things this president has done and the person deleted every single one of them. Including when I mentioned that she did not respect President Obama.

But after reading this article the anger that I feel toward this person makes me think that I am being played too! (?????)



I AM NOT POSTING RIGHT WING SHIT; ONLY WANT TO VERIFY THAT IT IS RIGHT WINGED SHIT.

[link:?fbclid=IwAR2EzCqXvAAP8mZ6IGevgQbbtDALTtxqz691ICj0T1rTG_C4TCkkw-B1Rsw|

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Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #28)

Wed Nov 27, 2019, 06:10 AM

35. That's RW shit alright. tRUMP.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 01:25 PM

21. REALLY good article.

I'm happy you posted, and I've bookmarked.

I just bought my first book by Malcolm Nance, who has written extensively about this.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 05:39 PM

26. k&r n/t

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2019, 06:04 PM

29. "Melanie's audience was made up of educated, urban, left-wing Americans"

In fall 2018, for example, a Russian account we identified called @PoliteMelanie re-crafted an old urban legend, tweeting: “My cousin is studying sociology in university. Last week she and her classmates polled over 1,000 conservative Christians. ‘What would you do if you discovered that your child was a homo sapiens?’ 55% said they would disown them and force them to leave their home.” This tweet, which suggested conservative Christians are not only homophobic but also ignorant, was subtle enough to not feel overtly hateful, but was also aimed directly at multiple cultural stress points, driving a wedge at the point where religiosity and ideology meet. The tweet was also wildly successful, receiving more than 90,000 retweets and nearly 300,000 likes.

This tweet didn’t seek to anger conservative Christians or to provoke Trump supporters. She wasn’t even talking to them. Melanie’s 20,000 followers, painstakingly built, weren’t from #MAGA America (Russia has other accounts targeting them). Rather, Melanie’s audience was made up of educated, urban, left-wing Americans harboring a touch of self-righteousness. She wasn’t selling her audience a candidate or a position — she was selling an emotion. Melanie was selling disgust. The Russians know that, in political warfare, disgust is a more powerful tool than anger. Anger drives people to the polls; disgust drives countries apart.


I think I would have just shaken my head at that. I'm long past disgusted with conservative christians. :p

But what stuck out to me is that it sounds like that's where Russia wants me. :/

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Wed Nov 27, 2019, 12:21 AM

31. And the cutsie stuff. Thankful for Twitter's Block feature

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Wed Nov 27, 2019, 01:21 AM

33. HorseShit. This happens, but it's not a majority. nt

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Wed Nov 27, 2019, 10:50 AM

36. The USA's is the most open and widely disseminated culture on the planet.

Our films, music and even TV shows can be seen and heard almost everywhere but North Korea.

It should come as no surprise that foreign actors know us well. Heck, I can't know this for sure but I bet a lot of those working for the IRA in Russia are plotting and saving for the day they can leave their jobs and come here to live with no ill intent and hopes of becoming a citizen someday.

You can usually tell when a person loves their work whether here, Russia, China or wherever and I'll bet it shows in a lot of their "troll's" efforts that have actually been identified.

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