New Yorker: Confessions of a Trump Troll

From The New Yorker, with a caveat that you might find yourself wanting to punch something: Confessions of a Trump Troll. “‘I like chaos. I thrive in it’: a Georgia lawyer with too much time on his hands and ties to the G.O.P. describes how he used twenty fake Twitter accounts to disseminate political disinformation.”

Business Insider: A new algorithm could catch social-media trolls as they try to influence US elections. Researchers are offering it for free.

Business Insider: A new algorithm could catch social-media trolls as they try to influence US elections. Researchers are offering it for free.. “The tool, described in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, works by learning to recognize known, common patterns associated with troll activity and disinformation campaigns. Russian troll accounts, for instance, have posted many links to far-right websites, but the content on those sites didn’t always match the posts’ accompanying text or images. Venezuelan trolls, meanwhile, have often posted fake websites.”

NBC News: Troll farms from North Macedonia and the Philippines pushed coronavirus disinformation on Facebook

NBC News: Troll farms from North Macedonia and the Philippines pushed coronavirus disinformation on Facebook. “One of the largest publishers of coronavirus disinformation on Facebook has been banned from the platform for using content farms from North Macedonia and the Philippines, Facebook said on Friday.”

Mashable: 4chan trolls reportedly behind part of the Iowa caucus chaos

Mashable: 4chan trolls reportedly behind part of the Iowa caucus chaos. “As the public still waits for the full results from Monday’s Iowa caucus, it at least now knows more about what contributed to the fallout. We already knew a few of the major factors: a historically chaotic process combined with a new yet broken app. Now, we know of another contributor to the mayhem: Trump-supporting 4chan trolls.”

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

Rolling Stone: That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It. “We’ve spent the past two years studying online disinformation and building a deep understanding of Russia’s strategy, tactics, and impact. Working from data Twitter has publicly released, we’ve read Russian tweets until our eyes bled. Looking at a range of behavioral signals, we have begun to develop procedures to identify disinformation campaigns and have worked with Twitter to suspend accounts. In the process we’ve shared what we’ve learned with people making a difference, both in and out of government.”

Rent-a-troll: Researchers pit disinformation farmers against each other (Ars Technica)

Ars Technica: Rent-a-troll: Researchers pit disinformation farmers against each other. “The same sorts of organizations that once made their money performing ‘black SEO’—using fraudulent means to raise paying customers’ search engine ranks, often for illicit reasons—are now diving into a whole new sort of online manipulation. Researchers at security threat tracking company Recorded Future have found companies selling disinformation campaign capabilities similar to the ones used by Russian ‘troll factories’ during the 2016 US presidential campaign and other state-sponsored information operations.”

Search Engine Journal: 7 Effective Tactics to Defeat Internet Trolls

Search Engine Journal: 7 Effective Tactics to Defeat Internet Trolls . “To this day, trolls emerge from the dank recesses of their troll caves to stir up trouble in discussions, on social media, and anywhere they can make people mad. For the rest of us, there are ways to fight back and maintain civility, friendly discourse, and fun in our online communities – not in spite of the trolls, but in direct opposition to everything they stand for.”

TechCrunch: This game uses troll tactics to teach critical thinking

TechCrunch: This game uses troll tactics to teach critical thinking. “The best medicine against online disinformation is an informed society that’s thinking critically. The problem is there are no shortcuts to universal education. Enter Finnish Public Broadcasting Company, Yle, which is hoping to harness the engagement power of gamification to accelerate awareness and understanding of troll tactics and help more people spot malicious Internet fakes. It’s put together an online game, called Troll Factory, that lets you play at being, well, a hateful troll. Literally.” The article notes that the game contains offensive and extremist content — because, well, it’s about trolling.

Washington Post: Why crafty Internet trolls in the Philippines may be coming to a website near you

Washington Post: Why crafty Internet trolls in the Philippines may be coming to a website near you. “The world of Internet trolls — the gaslighting, the fabrications, the nastiness — is now a fact of life in the Web ecosystem nearly everywhere. But something new is happening here: Experienced public relations experts in the Philippines are harnessing the raw energy of young and aggressive social media shape-shifters.”

The Verge: Twitch is closing in on its Christchurch trolls

The Verge: Twitch is closing in on its Christchurch trolls. “For just over a month, Twitch has been trying to track down a group of anonymous trolls who spammed the platform with violent footage of the Christchurch shooting in the wake of the attack. That hunt kicked off in earnest when Twitch filed suit against the trolls earlier in June, but new filings show the company has more clues to the perpetrators’ identity than anyone suspected, including specific email addresses for at least three people and Discord logs where the attack was organized.”

France24: China’s social media troll ‘army’ wages war on Uighurs

France24: China’s social media troll ‘army’ wages war on Uighurs. “The Chinese troll army suddenly struck one evening, bombarding the Facebook pages of two pro-Uighur groups with an array of verbal grenades and offensive images. The social media onslaught was the handiwork of the self-styled Diba Central Army, a Chinese patriotic group that has targeted other pages in the past to defend Beijing.”

University of Iowa: Measurement and Early Detection of Third-Party Application Abuse on Twitter

University of Iowa: Measurement and Early Detection of Third-Party Application Abuse on Twitter. This is a PDF. “Third-party applications present a convenient way for attackers to orchestrate a large number of fake and compromised accounts on popular online social networks. Despite recent high-profile reports of third-party application abuse on Twitter, Facebook, and Google, prior work lacks automated approaches for accurate and early detection of abusive applications. In this paper, we perform a longitudinal study of abusive third-party applications on Twitter that perform a variety of malicious and spam activities in violation of Twitter’s terms of service. Our measurements over a period of 16 months demonstrate an ongoing arms race between attackers continuously registering and abusing new applications and Twitter trying to detect them. We find that hundreds of thousands of abusive applications remain undetected by Twitter for several months while posting tens of millions of tweets. To this end, we propose a machine learning approach for accurate and early detection of abusive Twitter applications by analyzing their first few tweets.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: When Online Trolls Show Up in Class, Should Professors Be Able to Ban Them?

Chronicle of Higher Education: When Online Trolls Show Up in Class, Should Professors Be Able to Ban Them?. “Public scholars are well acquainted with online hatred. But professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are debating what to do when the vitriol ceases to be just virtual and takes a seat in the front row of the classroom.”

TechXplore: Who let the trolls out? Researchers investigate state-sponsored trolls

TechXplore: Who let the trolls out? Researchers investigate state-sponsored trolls . “Over the past few years, journalists and politicians have often highlighted the presence of state-sponsored online trolls with the mission of swaying public opinion on particular issues. Researchers at Cyprus University of Technology, UCL, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Boston University have taken a closer look at this phenomenon, hoping to achieve a better understanding of how these actors operate.”