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Twitter Communications Network Social Networks Spam The Internet United States

Twitter Notifies 1.4 Million Users of Interaction With Russian Accounts (recode.net) 178

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: At least 1.4 million people on Twitter engaged with content created by Russian trolls during the 2016 presidential election, the company revealed on Wednesday. That's more than double the amount that Twitter initially identified -- and perhaps still just a fraction of the full universe of users who may have witnessed Kremlin propaganda over that period. In announcing the new data in a blog post, Twitter also said it had notified all 1.4 million affected users that they saw election disinformation. That fulfilled a pledge that the company previously made to members of Congress who are investigating Russia's tactics on social media. Notified users included those that followed one of the roughly 3,000 accounts belonging to the Internet Research Agency, the troll army tied to the Russian government, as well as users who retweeted, replied, liked or mentioned those IRA accounts in their tweets. But Twitter did not alert users who merely saw Russian troll tweets in their feeds but did not interact with the content. Nor did it reach out to users who saw tweets from the roughly 50,000 Russian bots that tweeted election-related content around November 2016.
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Twitter Notifies 1.4 Million Users of Interaction With Russian Accounts

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  • Wonder who they were targeting...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wonder who they were targeting...

      Other bots.

      • Wonder who they were targeting...

        In fact, it's pretty clear that they were targeting America in general.

        Despite the popular thinking, all the evidence is that they weren't actually trying to help one political party over another-- their intent was just to disrupt American society, and the democratic process, any way that they could.

        (and not just America-- they wanted to disrupt western European countries as well. And, of course, it all stems from their attempts to destabilize Ukraine.)

        • by Layzej ( 1976930 )
          It would be interesting to get a hold of the dataset and use it as the corpus for a word2vec vector space model. An obvious use would be to create a Russian troll detector, but there are many other academic (and possibly some mischievous) uses.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly!

      The liberals are pushing the idea of globalism and acceptance of other people, but they are critical of each and every person that has even the slightest interaction with somebody from Russia.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So the conservatives who are anti-globalists and aren't accepting of other people, yet embracing Russia and relying on the rest of the global internet to brigade elections and public opinion are examples of what?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Narcocide ( 102829 )

          Traitors.

        • So the conservatives who are anti-globalists and aren't accepting of other people...

          Hmmm. What other people are you talking about. This seems deceptively broad as a statement. I don't know any conservative who isn't accepting of ANY other people so it must be a specific group you are referring to. Can you stop beating around the bush and tell us which one you were alluding to?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Given the proclivity of the Left to accuse others of being Russian whenever they hear an opinion they don't like, I wonder how they actually know if it's a"Russian" account or not.

      I'm sure that's a technical exercise that most of us would find interesting.

      What do you bet that they will say, "It's a secret!"

      • Given the proclivity of the Left to accuse others of being Russian whenever they hear an opinion they don't like, I wonder how they actually know if it's a"Russian" account or not.

        Hmm-- did you try, perhaps, actually following the links to the articles that answer that question? No?

        So, you didn't actually want to know, did you.

        F'ing anonymous cowards. I expect you are a Russian troll.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Ya... nothing in the links specifically talk about how they identify that an account was opened by a "Russian"

          They use terms like, "Linked with" and other vague phrases. But nothing that says they can prove an account was opened in this location by some individual. If I were in Southern CA and opened an account and posted material similar to what they claim are Russian accounts, they'd likely claim I was a Russian.

          More likely they are simply choosing what accounts to claim are Russian based solely on their

    • "Wonder who they were targeting..."

      Obviously the white, gullible, deplorable, believe in invisible guys in the sky, wanting a strong 'leader', voters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2018 @09:13AM (#56046641)

    Trump refused to implement the sanctions law, claiming the mere threat of sanctions was working.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions/trump-administration-holds-off-on-new-russia-sanctions-despite-law-idUSKBN1FI2V7

    However his CIA chief says Russia has not let up attacking the USA and expects Russia to interfere in the US Midterm elections:
    http://time.com/5124313/cia-mike-pompeo-russia-midterm-elections/

    Republicans should clean house, Nunes is blowing a smoke screen to hide Russian attacks on the US elections, and you can't have the Republican head of the Intelligence oversight committee giving cover for a *foreign* intelligence agency to attack the US.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I haven't seen any evidence that Russia ever attacked us in any way, nor that they hacked our elections, something Obama and Clinton said could not happen when it was them being accused of it before the election.

      • by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @10:36AM (#56046999) Homepage

        I haven't seen any evidence that Russia ever attacked us in any way,

        Depends on what you mean by "attacked". What they did was spread disruptive messages primarily through social media, with the apparent intent of sowing discord and animosity. If you "haven't seen evidence", I take it to mean that you haven't actually looked at any of the evidence.

        I will point out, however, that what they seem to have done here is not actually illegal. They posted messages. Turns out it's legal to post messages of almost any sort. (They may have violated terms of service by using a bot army to do a lot of this... but it's not clear that violating terms of service is actually a crime).

        Except for the part about breaking into the DNC email system. That part actually was illegal.

        nor that they hacked our elections,

        Depends on what you mean by "hacked our elections". There's no evidence, for example, that they ever successfully broke into voting machines to change votes (although there is some evidence that they did some probing). What they did was use their army of bots to spread disruptive messages. Is that "hacking an election?" Well, if social hacking is "hacking."

        something Obama and Clinton said could not happen when it was them being accused of it before the election.

        Interesting, but, no, neither one of them ever said that it's impossible to hack an election. They did not say this.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "I haven't seen any evidence that Russia ever attacked us in any way, nor that they hacked our elections"

        Well, here you go, then, direct from Russian State TV, discussing Trump refusing sanctions - https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        Female anchor: "Looks like Trump is back in our pocket again"
        Male Anchor: "Seems that way."

        The Russians clearly don't give a shit about broadcasting the fact they've been fucking around in our politics.

      • The facts don't support your assertion at this time. The length of the Muller investigation would tend to lend credence to the fact that your statement is in fact most likely false. If in fact there was little to no evidence of collusion between the Russians and some, and likely more than some, in the trump campaign this would have been wrapped up long ago. Factor in as well that there has literally been not a word out of Muller or his investigators for the duration of this investigation and I think that
    • by Anonymous Coward

      So you think it's OK for senior law enforcement people in the FBI and DoJ to even contemplate things like "insurance policies" against candidates they don't like?

      "Insurance policies" against that candidate being ELECTED???

      Are you a dropped-on-your-head-at-birth utter FUCKING MORON, or an actual dyed-in-the-wool totalitarian?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        FBI used a warrant to spy on Carter Page's visits to Moscow, and his meeting with FSB people in Moscow. If they can't use a warrant for that treason when can they?

        It's about as clear cut treason as it gets. FBI had the duty to get a warrant and investigate his meetings.

        Perhaps you don't quite understand the implications of Nunes snokescreen. Trumps defense to Carter Page's treason was "he wasn't in my campaign just a volunteer". But Nunes is claiming "FBI spied on Trump by spying on Carter Page".... which l

    • Trump refused to implement the sanctions law

      From your article: "Shortly before midnight (0500 GMT) on Monday, the Treasury Department released an unclassified “oligarchs” list, including 114 senior Russian political figures and 96 business people. .... the law mandated that the U.S. Treasury and State Departments, and intelligence agencies, compile a list of political figures and business people close to Putin’s government and network, for potential future sanctions. "

      According to your own link the administration followed the law.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Nunes is blowing a smoke screen to hide Russian attacks on the US elections

      If that was true, then the democrats wouldn't be fighting tooth and fucking nail to try and stop the memo from being released. Hell look at the democrat and media narrative over the last week. It's gone from "it's nunes so bad" to "people are too stupid to understand it(this is different then the context claim)" to "we're releasing our own memo" to "no don't release the memo at all" to "the memo was written by the russians" and on and on. The freakout by pelosi, schiff, maxine waters, and so on is both h

  • One simple fix. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Put a flag icon of the accounts country of origin over their tweets. That way you can see where it's coming from.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 )

      Put a flag icon of the accounts country of origin over their tweets. That way you can see where it's coming from.

      Yes, because the internet is so well regulated that you can't disguise country of origin using, say, a VPN or an anonymous relay.

      Oh, wait, that was sarcasm. Yes, in fact you can disguise country of origin.

      • So Twitter should just ask all accounts to indicate their real country of origin. Problem solved right? ;)
        • by XXongo ( 3986865 )

          So Twitter should just ask all accounts to indicate their real country of origin. Problem solved right? ;)

          Exactly. Just like Facebook asks all accounts to use their real name, so there aren't any trolls or bots on facebook.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @09:30AM (#56046719)

    When it comes to trolling, I will be most grateful if anyone presents clear-cut example(s) of what Russians are alleged to have exposed to us.

    I have a feeling it's not that different when compared to what the US agencies do themselves.

    So folks, spit out some examples.

    • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @09:37AM (#56046741) Homepage
      exactly. i mean, if they are pushing truth and not lies, shouldnt we be more upset with our own government for lying to us??
      • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @10:00AM (#56046831)

        exactly. i mean, if they are pushing truth and not lies, shouldnt we be more upset with our own government for lying to us??

        Whoa, whoa, whoa. Are you trying to say that maybe we should focus on what's actually important, affecting us daily, and under our control?!? Good, because I'm pretty sure the answer is in her goddamn emails.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Leave poor Hillary alone! All of those 20k+ emails were nothing more than yoga class and preparations for her daughter's birthday. She told us. She simply made the mistake of storing them in a secret server installed in her bathroom. Anyone here could have easily made the same mistake, so let's end this witch hunt!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScentCone ( 795499 )

          Good, because I'm pretty sure the answer is in her goddamn emails.

          No, not "her emails." Rather, "Her willingness to look you in the eye and lie non-stop for a year about her deliberate mishandling of classified material in a way that would lose anyone else their clearance and their job, and likely put them in serious legal jeopardy ... and the willingness of a few key people in the FBI and DoJ to do everything possible to make sure she was held to a different and - by comparison - completely toothless standard for purely partisan political reasons, to make sure she becam

      • No. We just elected a president whose existence is predicated upon lies. I'm not saying nobody else lies (everybody does to some degree or another), but if we can put trust in somebody who says things that are verifiably false, like how much more popular his inauguration was vs Obama's [vox-cdn.com], how do we expect "truth" to become a norm?

        At one point politicians at least tried to spin the truth to fit their agenda. Now they've figured out lies and heated emotions carry more weight than facts and level-headedness. Fin

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2018 @09:37AM (#56046743)

      There was a claim, [possibly made by Vlado himself,] that many of the Russian IPv4's interacting with Twitter traffic were due to TOR exit servers based in Russia.

      So we are back to a verifiable {micro-sized airborne particles of combustion origin and planar reflective surfaces} situation

    • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @09:47AM (#56046785)

      The best I can figure is, they leveraged two pillars of a free society: freedom of press and freedom of speech, by posting on open social media platforms and buying ads. Some people donâ(TM)t like the outcome and refuse to accept that after 30+ years of dealing with Clintons in the political spotlight, enough people in strategically important locations were sick of it to not vote for her. It must have been a few months of social media lies by Russians!

      The burried lead here is essentially that Democrats are insisting that Trump voters are easily misled idiots incapable of rational thought. BUT if they had believed different social media bias and voted for Clinton, then they would obviously be independent thinkers.

      I didnâ(TM)t vote for Trump. I think heâ(TM)s crass and shallow. But I didnâ(TM)t vote for Hillary because I donâ(TM)t want her to be president either. I will also say this much: I have no appreciation for those who say âoeif you donâ(TM)t agree with me you are an easily duped idiot who made up his mind because of a tweet.â

      • The burried lead here is essentially that Democrats are insisting that Trump voters are easily misled idiots incapable of rational thought. BUT if they had believed different social media bias and voted for Clinton, then they would obviously be independent thinkers.

        Not all, but some.

        This bit of your post is yet another example of the all-or-nothing, this-side versus that-side attitude that is the real problem. There are idiots and independent thinkers on both sides of the aisle and the sooner we all rea

      • Both sides were being played - it wasn't just pro trump but more a "sow discord". At least those are the allegations. For example:

        http://www.houstonpress.com/ne... [houstonpress.com]
        http://www.foxnews.com/politic... [foxnews.com]

        It's not Trump voters are idiots for believing Russian trolls, it's there are enough idiots on both sides that it's easy to manufacture conflict - which then gets reported in the media creating more conflict and on we go.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Other examples include fake groups like "Antifa Boston". If you search Slashdot (google with site:slashdot.org is a good option) you can see quite a few people on here complaining about them, and influencing others.

          @SouthLoneStar is another infamous one on Twitter, spewing fake news that went viral such as a photo supposedly showing a Muslim woman ignoring a terror attack victim. That's a good one to google as a starting point in your research.

          The UK was hit quite hard too. @DavidJo52951945 or "David Jones"

      • No, false-flag operations are not "free speech". They are fraud and should be exposed. Which has nothing to do with who won.

        You are pushing a fallacy: We shouldn't sort out what disinformation there was because Trump won for other reasons. That has so little logical coherence that is tough to believe that you aren't a troll paid to push that talking point.

      • And that buries the lede because you presume rather than prove that the content people interacted with was designed to promote Trump or for fantastical reasons denigrate Clinton. There is no reasoning behind such a presumption. There is a good reason for the opposite of the presumption above, however. Why should Putin hate the woman who just authorized the sale of 20% of US uranium stock to Russia?
        {o.o} Just sayin'

    • I'm not on either Facebook or Twitter, I have an IQ greater than 70 after all, but I would love to see some hard evidence and messages that these trolls send out. I'm sure there is much ads and bots going around Twitter/Facebook but it reminds me more of IRC in the late 90s.

      • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
        You find examples realtime at https://dashboard.securingdemo... [securingdemocracy.org]
        • Nice link - the "Alliance for Securing Democracy". Now that's a creepy 1984-style name! Seems that site is operated by the German Marshall Fund, a Cold War institutional relic dedicated to NATO hegemony in Eastern Europe.

          No reason for obsolete cold warriors like that to build up a Russian boogey man. It's not like they have no purpose in a peaceful Europe, and a new conflict with Russia would rescue them from the dust bin of history. No sir, no siree. This is definitely not lawful domestic propaganda. Th

        • by guruevi ( 827432 )

          I don't see any examples there, it just seems to trigger on hashtags Democrats don't like. The top right now is Trump, FISA, memo etc which seems rather newsworthy, not factually incorrect.

          • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
            Other times you'll see other hashtags that Democrats don't care about. It's usually just whatever narrative they're trying to push + some top news stories to fit in
    • by allcoolnameswheretak ( 1102727 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @10:30AM (#56046971)

      Since the Ukrainian vote to join the EU, Russia has gone on an all-out propaganda offensive with the intention to split the west and weaken NATO. Russia regards the Ukraine as its "home-turf" and buffer against perceived NATO "aggression", and it regards the EU as the gateway to NATO membership for eastern European countries that were formally part of the Soviet Union.
      Russia feels as if NATO is encroaching on its sphere of influence and waging an "underhanded" war of political expansion. Looking at a map you will see how one by one, former Soviet republics have been converted into NATO countries.
      Russia also feels that this NATO expansion is a violation of a promise made to Gorbachev at the dissolution of the Soviet Union, that NATO would not expand to the east.
      For this reasons Russia has decided to go on the offensive and start fighting NATO. Not by military means, since it does not have the means to seriously compete with NATO, but by information warfare, taking full advantage of the traits of our open societies, such as freedom of speech and of the press. Using fake news and trolls that sow discontent and dissent, it intends to cause a rift between our countries and institutions.
      Russian agents already provided plenty of cannon fodder to the Brexit crew and succeeded in swaying public opinion. Everything that causes a rift through the EU and NATO is good for Russia.
      Russia is very active in spreading fake news and inciting discontent around far-right groups in Europe, using the refugee crisis to full effect (fake news about rapists, terrorists and other criminals among refugees) to strengthen the far-right and to politically destabilize European nations, especially Germany and France. Fortunately these activities have only had marginal success thus far, with the far-right Front National in France and the AfD in Germany gaining some votes, but not enough to pose a serious threat to the political establishment.
      It had resounding success in the U.S. were it just so managed to tip the scale in favor of Trump, the weaker candidate, and the US government and especially foreign policy is practically paralyzed and ineffectual at the moment. If you want some information or evidence on these activities, it's really only a good google search away.
      Russian activities in Germany and Europe:
      https://www.nato.int/docu/Revi... [nato.int]
      http://time.com/4889471/german... [time.com]
      https://www.politico.eu/articl... [politico.eu]
      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-... [bbc.com]
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new... [telegraph.co.uk]

      On Russia's overall strategy and interference in the US:
      https://www.newyorker.com/maga... [newyorker.com]
      http://www.slate.com/articles/... [slate.com]

      That should be a good start to get an idea.

      • I have done some homework. All these entities you cite are the same ones that reported IRAQ as having WMDs. In short, they were regurgitating what some would call government propaganda.

        Result? An endless war with so many lives lost.

        • As far as I remember, it was the Bush administration who was pushing the made up WMD story in Iraq and feeding the bogus "evidence" to media and allies..

          • As far as I remember, it was the Bush administration who was pushing the made up WMD story in Iraq and feeding the bogus "evidence" to media and allies..

            As far as I remember, it was the Bush administration who was pushing the made up WMD story in Iraq and feeding the bogus "evidence" to media and allies who regurgitated the lies as they seem to be doing now.

            Let me ask again: Where's the irrefutable evidence?

            • The question is, what will people like you who are always demanding "evidence" accept as evidence? If the many, reputable sources, such as independent journalists of the BBC or New York Times are not trusted by you, who will you trust?
              I could cite as an example for the Russian fake news intended to agitate, that is mentioned in one of my links this Wikipedia page:
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org].

              But if you don't trust the BBC or the New York Times, then you will probably not trust Wikipedia either, right?

              • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
                The results found in Iraq after the US had total control of Iraq showed what the ""evidence" accept as evidence" resulted in.
                The trusted media was given junk fictional intel stories to spin.
                Now more people have the internet and can question the same attempts at spin for the next military adventure.
              • So basically you believe every lie shoveled out by BBC and NYT. Nice to know.

                C'mon man, I was a kid in university when I realized NYT was choc full o' lies. Grow up.

    • When it comes to trolling, I will be most grateful if anyone presents clear-cut example(s) of what Russians are alleged to have exposed to us.

      So, I take it you didn't follow any of the links in the summary, like say this one https://www.theverge.com/2018/... [theverge.com] or this one https://blog.twitter.com/offic... [twitter.com]

      Why are you bothering to comment if you aren't even interested enough to follow the links?

      you could have tried a google search, too: https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

    • Exactly. How many of these "russian bots" were actually controlled by Kremlin, and not just bots some company leased to spread advertising that happened to be created by a Russian programmer...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Which should beg the question: What's the difference between foreign political trolling and domestic political campaigning? We already allow corporations and any domestic actor to express their political opinions, constructively and not. Is it somehow different when it's a foreign actor?

    "... commit myself to defend ... the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic ..."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Is it somehow different when it's a foreign actor?"

      Yes. Yes it is. The fact that you feel you need to even ask that question is frightening. What the hell is wrong with you?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course, no mention of the paid proposals straight from the European finalists and Chinese government cheering for Bernie and Hillary. Because that want"bad", that was free speech.

  • how many users engaged with content created by american trolls?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    2016: Birther loons are deservedly ridiculed.

    2017/18: Muh Russia loons approach the Birther crazy level, but in some cases they are the exact same people who laughed at the birthers.

    Define irony !

  • Millions Americans live abroad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] for complex reasons.

    If a post originates from a foreign IP, it does not mean yet that it was not written by an American.

    I am acquainted with some post-soviet functioneers. They are not capable to generate content which is read and liked by millions of US citizens. They just do not know the US realities to such degree, not even close.

    I have no doubt that it is either the diaspora or activists inside the country are using proxies locat
  • And in other news @therealdonaldtrump received a tweet from twitter which has the white house rushing to prepare a denial of.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court

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