There are ordinary trolls. They have fun in the comments to the news and articles, entertain the people and enrich the discussions with emotions, often cute and harmless. They are on their own and act in their own interests. But there are others who appear under the flags of unknown forces, they are attracted by the brilliance of gold, they are merciless and ready to ruin everything in their path. Their whole horde ... element, driven by other people's interests.
Paid Trolling (Wiki)
Paid trolling - the actions of organized groups of Internet users, for a monetary reward engaged in the formation of public opinion in a certain direction and the manipulation of public opinion on the Internet. Usually used for political purposes, often by governments, and have different names depending on the country or organization that they represent
Further, we will talk about trolls acting in the interests of others, and most often in the interests of states. Their goal is to splurge and form a false public opinion on acute events. Such trolling is developing in many countries. In a Bloomberg article , Russia is called a master of sports in this matter, a key exporter of this tactic and the birthplace of trolling.
Under the cut features of Russian trolls and their digital footprint on the Twitter platform
Trolling is an effective tool for influence, control and containment. Therefore, its use is growing and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, ...) strengthen the fight against misinformation from fake accounts. And this is another area and a great opportunity for analysts and datasaentists to apply their skills to make the information world a little cleaner. It would be cool to highlight troll accounts. I clicked on the button and all their comments / posts disappear, beauty)
Twitter deleted thousands of Russian troll accounts and millions of tweets. Chua Chin Hon analyzed this data, revealed traces of Russian troll accounts and built models to detect them. Article Using Data Scince to Reveal Government Trolls on Twitter. He compared the popular real and Russian troll accounts. Basic heuristics:
- The main troll accounts were created in 2014, in May and August.
- The peak of activity falls on 2015-2016. If you look at November 2016 (US presidential election), a lot of activity falls on the 8th and 9th, on election day
- Troll accounts have a low following-to-follower ratio, i.e. Subscribed to a large number of users, and they are tracked by few For comparison:
- Popular real accounts. Number of subscribers and signatories:
- Popular troll accounts. Number of subscribers and signatories: The
number of monitored accounts is striking. 1000 monitored accounts are already too much for real users
- Troll accounts prefer hashtags over links:
- Shorter tweets and fewer words. Real accounts try to use the maximum number of characters allowed:
- Troll accounts in the location indicate those cities and countries where the audience they want to influence live. In this case, the United States
- t-SNE presentation of tweets from 10 troll and real accounts:
- Troll accounts are disguised as news agencies and news sources. They release content that users in the region prefer and mix in the “right” information.
- Another common feature of Russian trolls that pretend to be English speakers is the confusion in using “a” / “the” and the grammatically incorrect statement of the question (the word order changes)
In general, it is difficult to identify the troll, there is no clear division of the border, they are tricky and change behavior. In every country, on every platform, this is a new story. If you are a troll, identify trolls, suffer or deal with trolls, share your experience. What to look at, how can one identify? Any ideas?
- Bloomberg Article with Many Examples in Different Countries: A Global Guide to State-Supported Trolls
- Using Data Scince to Reveal Government Trolls on Twitter
- How to identify the Russian troll