In my last article, I demonstrated how both pure robot twitter accounts, and curated robot twitter accounts, run from and by Russia, work to boost Donald Trump online.
Further to that story, I have worked with a patriotic data scientist to model how Russian eggs and bot accounts give the alt-right for Trump wide dissemination.
My first piece shows, on video, how Russian troll accounts re-tweet, then instantly delete, Donald Trump’s online campaign manager Dan Scavino.
But many of the bot RTs are not designed to be deleted, but to boost a message. It’s something you will hear over and over from Trump bot- backers: they have “more RTs and likes” than you.
— MicroTurkeyLeaks™ (@WDFx2EU8) November 6, 2016
One terrific example that saves me some explanation time:
— Aaron (@aaronknightkc) October 15, 2016
Indeed! let’s look at @Cernovich twitter responders. Mike Cernovich is a laughably unsuccessful Kindle author getting alimony from his ex-wife who talks a lot about alpha males – you know, typical altright loser. But Mike has seen a huge upsurge in “popularity” since he got on the Trump train and joined the long list of Betas to Gamma Americans who the Russians can use against their own country. Well, actually, it’s more like “botularity” – because his “engagement” isn’t real.
I asked a patriotic data scientist to have a look at the bot-net. First, we would define a bot by its real tweet to RT ratio, the same way the BBC referenced study defined a robot account: a bot account has a far higher RT-to tweet ratio, and so do those who are re-tweeting it.
So, Mike Cernovich is a real person, but the people re-tweeting him are Russian controlled bot accounts, not humans.
We ran the test on @DanScavino, Trump social manager and a control account on the bot network, and Mike Cernovich. Our analyst:
I listened to twitter feeds for a total of 4 hours searching on the two users you identified and collecting retweets mentions, or replies to them. We collected more than 3000 unique accounts on this interval. Selecting 100 tweets at random from each stream, we found that, more than two thirds of users consisted of 70% retweets or more. In contrast, a random selection of 20 english speaking twitter users consisted of 21%retweets.
So we started by looking at Mike Cernovich.
Here is summary graph for Cernovich’s retweet network. It’s a plot of the fraction of tweets that are retweets for each of the users in the network. I’ve put red lines for the same statistic for you and me. You can see that Cernovich’s network, by and large, has ridiculously large fractions of retweets.
OK, so Mike Cernovich is being used by Russia’s bot network. So is Trump campaign manager Dan Scavino. Here is his graph:
My own line is much higher than ‘Trollfinder General’, but does not approach Cernovich or Scavino. Why? Well, since I am tracking the Russian intelligence bot network, Russian bots regularly RT or like my tweets too. I also support Brexit, which will win many RTs from Russia’s bot net.
Our analyst gave us a graph to demonstrate the probability curve that this online momentum for Trump centering around @PrisonPlanet, @JaredWyand, @Cernovich and @DanScavino are real people. Probability is close to zero:
But wait! The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that although Dan Scavino is clearly being boosted by Russia’s botnet, he has fewer dots or bots boosting him than Mike Cernovich, who is almost all bots. Howcome, if the Trump campaign’s accounts are being used by Russia?
The answer to that is simple. Our analyst ran RT analysis on extant, current re-tweets, replies and likes to Scavino’s tweets. The majority of Russian bots interact with Dan Scavino in the following way, as detailed in my earlier piece (a good primer on what type of propaganda the Russian bot network is pushing, and how to spot a bot by content). This is more of a ‘how they do it’ guide, so as a refresher: Russian troll accounts, who have been sloppy with VPN, were filmed by me on the twitter tool Trendsmap. These are straight up egg accounts. They were found by the simple method of entering “trending topic @DanScavino”. The bots then RT Scavino and immediately, certainly within a single minute, delete their RTs of him.
Here is a video showing this technique in action. In my earlier article I display two more.
A further article will explore the attempted coup by some members of the FBI, who threw a hissy fit because they had no case and illegally conspired to throw an election. But for the purposes of this article, let’s note the risible excuses given by these FBI sources, illegally, to the New York Times for Trump’s Russian server, a secret server running straight to a Russian bank:
F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages — a first step for one system’s computers to talk to another — to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.
Right. Yes. Well there “could be” many reasons a secret Russian server in a bank sends data to the Trump Organization. Have the FBI checked Dan Scavino’s twitter botnet?
We doubt it. More on the Russian servers later, in a story unrelated to Twitter.
Does Mike Cernovich know that he is working for the Russians? He denies it, although I don’t believe him. Cernovich has been on Twitter long enough to know when he is being retweeted by a botnet. He has, at time of writing, placed an American flag on his Twitter profile, but that does not negate his anti-American, anti-West, “agent of influence” (which may be unwitting) status.
What is more serious is Dan Scavino’s knowing interaction with Nazi accounts and with Russia. The FBI agents looking into Trump’s connections to Russia have smoothed over clear and present crime and influence and must be replaced. Honest law enforcement needs to look long and hard at the multiple requests per minute served up by that Trump-Russian server, and connect those requests to the botnet controlled by the Kremlin. The influence spread by the propaganda bots and agents is regarded by Russia as a weapon of war. It is time the USA started treating it as a weapon of war.
Putin's Troll Army – Disinformation As a Weapon: IMR Presents Report on Russian Propaganda https://t.co/HdKKkCKHhU
— Lara Chicofsky (@laracchi) November 15, 2014
Oh, and Twitter – for God’s sake, hire some damned engineers.