Far-right trolls active on social media before German election: research (Deutsche Welle)

Deutsche Welle: Far-right trolls active on social media before German election: research. “Right-wing internet trolls sought to influence Germany’s federal election in September by setting up dozens of fake YouTube, Twitter and Facebook accounts to help them manipulate the online political debate, two studies released on Tuesday revealed. One study, published by several German public broadcasters and the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, revealed how some 5,000 users on the ‘Reconquista Germanica’ (Germany’s recapture) platform planned their social media campaigns.”

“Just An Ass-Backward Tech Company”: How Twitter Lost The Internet War (Vanity Fair)

Vanity Fair: “Just An Ass-Backward Tech Company”: How Twitter Lost The Internet War. “Del Harvey, Twitter’s resident troll hunter, has a fitting, if unusual, backstory for somebody in charge of policing one of the Internet’s most ungovernable platforms. As a teenager, she spent a summer as a lifeguard at a state mental institution; at 21, she began volunteering for Perverted Justice, a vigilante group that lures pedophiles into online chat rooms and exposes their identities. When the group partnered with NBC in 2004 to launch To Catch a Predator, Harvey posed as a child to help put pedophiles in jail. In 2008, she joined Twitter, then a small status-updating service whose 140-character quirk was based on the amount of alphanumerics that could be contained on a flip-phone screen. She was employee No. 25, and her job was to combat spam accounts.”

Newsweek: How An Alt-right Bot Network Took Down Al Franken

Newsweek: How An Alt-right Bot Network Took Down Al Franken. “The operation commenced on November 15, when Stone—who is now banned from Twitter for racism and profanity—tweeted from one of his accounts “Roger Stone says it’s Al Franken’s ‘time in the barrel.’ Franken next in long list of Democrats accused of ‘grabby’ behavior.” On the same day, a developer named Atsufumi Otsuka registered a web domain in Japan called RealUSA.site, and a fake-news website soon emerged at that web address, according to research shared with the voting rights outfit Unhack the Vote.”

Russian-linked bots join gun debate on Twitter following Parkland shooting: report (Salon)

Salon: Russian-linked bots join gun debate on Twitter following Parkland shooting: report. “In the aftermath of the shooting on Feb. 14 that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school, automated bots reportedly jumped on Twitter—some reportedly Russian-linked— to steer the conversation, according to two watchdog organizations. While it’s unclear who the accounts were, and the context of the messages they were promoting, the bots reportedly used the tragic event as an opportunity to join the gun control reform debate on the social media platform.”

Los Angeles Times: The goal was espionage. The tactics were social media 101

Los Angeles Times: The goal was espionage. The tactics were social media 101. “If a brand today wants to promote a new product, it would order its social media team to tailor posts that resonate with its audience, buy targeted ads to reach impressionable eyeballs, and closely monitor the performance of its messaging to ensure it reaches, and influences, as many viewers as possible. If a Russian troll farm wanted to disrupt an American election and amplify discord in an open society, it would apparently do the exact same things.”

The Daily Beast: Russian Troll Factory Alum Selling Social Media Mobs for $299 a Month

The Daily Beast: Russian Troll Factory Alum Selling Social Media Mobs for $299 a Month. “Ever wished your personal or corporate Facebook account had the same polish and verve as the legion of fake accounts created by Russia’s election trolls? Then here’s good news. The newly indicted Internet Research Agency, or a former worker at the St. Petersburg troll factory, may be getting into the social media management business.”