Latest posts by Lawrence Alexander
Tech companies' one-size-fits-all approach to bot-hunting seems to have dragged a number of innocent victims in its nets.
RIA FAN, a Russian news outlet with known connections to the Saint Petersburg "troll factory", announced its latest project: a website called USA Really, aimed at a U.S.-based audience.
An in-depth analysis of Twitter bots' metadata reveals connections to Russian "troll factories" and a vast network of pro-Kremlin LiveJournal blogs populating RuNet with propagandistic content.
Analysis indicates the retweet and favorite counts of some of Russia's top news agencies are seemingly being artificially inflated by hundreds of Twitter bots.
"Material Evidence" is one of few pro-Putin Internet projects connected to Russia's "troll factories" with a significant offline trail. Because of this, we can trace its operations unusually well.
Some of the sites in the pro-Kremlin network aim to attack Ukrainian politicians and Russian opposition figures by way of "personal dossiers" and alleged "dirt" dug up on the individuals.
Publicly available information from Google Analytics and other sources shows connections between a number of pro-Russian and pro-Kremlin websites, but offers little indication as to who might be behind them.
Network graphs reveal the associations between individual Twitter users in Russia and Ukraine and the hashtags they include in their tweets about presidents Putin and Poroshenko.
As the Kremlin steps up its efforts to enforce Internet censorship, search engine data shows a growing number of Russians use Tor to circumvent content blocking.
Multiple Twitter accounts were created on the same day, sometimes within hours of each other. This trend, typical for automated bot networks, was evident throughout Alexander's pro-Kremlin bot sample.
After Alexander's bot network analysis garnered massive attention from Russian media and social networks, he now addresses some of the skepticism about the bot networks and their provenance.
Visualised data on nearly 20,500 pro-Kremlin Twitter "bot" accounts reveals the massive scale of information manipulation attempts on the RuNet.