Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What's a Russian Bot?

So, I've seen them mentioned lately and hadn't really got around to finding out. One of several reasons to link to this story. And may I say "link to this story" makes a great place to put the link. Oh yeah, Russian bots.

“The president doesn’t know whether it’s a Russian bot or not,” said Clint Watt, a former FBI agent and fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, using the term for a fake Twitter account pretending to represent a real person and created to influence public opinion or promote a particular agenda. 

Of course the president doesn't know. Sadly, he knows even less than I do. What else is in this story? Nicole Mincey. Well, sort of, since she doesn't exist. At least not in the persona Trump knows her. 

On Saturday, President Trump tweeted his gratitude to a social-media super-fan, ­Nicole Mincey, magnifying her praise of him to his 35 million followers. 

Here’s the problem: There is no evidence the Twitter feed belongs to someone named Nicole Mincey. And the account, according to experts, bears a lot of signs of a Russia-backed disinformation campaign.

(H)e may have become Exhibit A of the foreign government’s influence by elevating a suspected Russia-connected ­social-media user — part a sophisticated campaign to exacerbate disputes in U.S. politics and gain the attention of the most powerful tweeter in the world.

It's gonna be a miracle if we survive the next 3 and a half years.

“As a Republican, it raises questions for some on the right who obviously have a difference of opinion on someone like Gen. McMaster, but the reality is there is a foreign power here trying to push an agenda,” said Jamie Fly, a former adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who helped create the Hamilton 68 project, which tracks the influence of Russian-backed propaganda online.

Researchers say the fake accounts sometimes disseminate content from well-known Russian-backed sources, including Sputnik and RT. The content is then picked up by U.S. conservatives. Or the fake accounts might amplify content created by far-right media outlets known for misinformation, including Gateway Pundit and Infowars.

Fly said Trump’s liberal use of Twitter has only increased the return on investment for a foreign power such as Russia seeking to sow division within the U.S. political system. Accounts can use Trump’s low bar for retweets to their advantage by creating large volumes of content in the hope that he might be drawn to some of it.

Putin hit the jackpot!

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