Russia’s social media trolls

We are in Cold War 2.0. We enter the battlefield every time we log into one of our social media accounts.The Russians have weaponized our own innovations for communication against us. This is a carefully orchestrated military campaign against America.

Cyberspace is now considered the 4th theatre of warfare. In the arenas of air, land and sea The United States has had natural boundaries with oceans to the East and West and allies to the North and South. In the cyber arena there are no boundaries. For the first time The United States faces front lines on the home front.

Every time an American citizen logs onto social media they are open to influence by Putin’s social media cyber warfare tactics. One of his most effective components of his social media psyops machine are the trolls.

Meet the Putin’s Social Media Trolls

First let’s take a look at the origin of the word troll in the context of social media. Trolls have been around since the first opportunity top post anonymous comments online. Trolls are amateurs who are abusive online for sport. Amateur meaning unpaid. They are generally expert at being obnoxious.

The Russian “troll” accounts are part of Putin’s cyber military strategy. They are his cyber soldiers. They are trained. They are paid. They are utilized in coordinated campaigns in the cyber arena the way conventional troops are used in conventional arenas of air, land and sea.

Samantha Bee sat down with two Russian agents from the Internet Research Agency in October 2016. Watch this video of them explaining their jobs. Note, this video contains strong language and Samantha Bee has a strong political bias. If you want to skip Samantha’s opening remarks and get right to the trolls explaining their work jump to the :55 mark.

Russian Trolls Generating Real World Activity In America

Have Russian troll accounts been effective? Just ask the protesters who convened at the Islamic Da’wah Center in downtown Houston on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Both sides of the protests were lured there by Facebook event posts run by Russian trolls. In other words, no Americans were involved in organizing either side of the protest. Look at the pictures of Americans facing off in Huston streets and consider the very real world division generated by this online operation.

There have been continued attempts to create real world divisive events via the Facebook event tool. One was easy to debunk as it claimed to be organized by the Women’s March organizers. They were contacted and confirmed it was not their event. Facebook removed the posting, but not be fore 3,400 people had RSVPed to the Facebook posting.

Russian Trolls Treated As American Thought Leaders

Related Links:

Hamilton 68: The dashboard tracking Russian agent account activity. The “Top Hashtags” and “Top URL” graphs are the most accurate indicator of activity.

Houston Chronicle: A Houston Protest Organized by Russian Trolls – The story of a protest in Houston in which both sides were manipulated by Russian trolls through Facebook to attend a protest and counter protest.

New York Times: The Agency – An introduction to the Internet Research Agency, (IRA) the office where Russian trolls clock in and sit in the cubicles working to meet their quotas.

Introduction to TEN_GOP Russian Troll Twitter Account – The Russian Twitter troll account that amassed over 100K followers and fooled reporters into quoting it in articles and American political leaders in to retweeting it

DFR Lab Report: How A Russian Troll Fooled America  -The story of Russian troll Twitter account posing as the Tennessee GOP influenced American voters and political leaders.

The Philly Inquirer: Two Popular Conservative Twitter Accounts Outed as Russian Trolls 

Daily Beast: Jenna Abrams, Russia’s Clown Troll Princess, Duped the Mainstream Media and the World –  The story of the Jenna Abrams Russian Troll account which was regularly quoted by US media.

Gizmodo: 14 Russian Ads That Ran on Facebook During the 2016 Election

NBC Database: 200,000 Russian Tweets Deleted from Twitter –  One of the frustrations in analyzing the Russian 2016 warfare tactics on social media is the social media sites are deleting the content. If they would freeze and archive the materials we could do better forensics. In this link NBC has preserved 200,000 tweets.

The Washington Post: Russian trolls and Twitter bots exploit vaccine controversy

Star Wars: The Last Jedi abuse blamed on Russian trolls and ‘political agendas’