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Ben Nimmo @benimmo
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Thread: The accounts which Facebook exposed today as being inauthentic focused on divisive issues and polarising topics in the US.

@DFRLab had a look at them before the takedown.…
Here's the most eyecatching: "Resisters." Posed as feminist, progressive and anti-Trump, and said it was "amplifying the voices from targeted communities."

Clunky use of language there...
That wasn't the only weird wording. How about "Since the beginning of the times," and "finally the society realised that"?

Inability to use "the" is a common feature of Russian-speakers, but also other language groups. Insufficient for solid ID.
Same here. "People all over the world has started to realize that a regular women need clothes too."
This account was activist, not just active. It organised, or co-hosted, demonstrations against the Trump administration on all kinds of issues, such as family separation.
This was its events page before the takedown.

Not all ones it was organising, but it shows how busily it was stoking the fires of anger.

Very much in keeping with the troll farm, though again, attribution is not confirmed. Why would Russia be the only place to target the US?
This was particularly explosive. Co-hosting a demo to counter "Unite The Right 2". Potential for nastiness: high.

The other hosts appeared genuine. This was an infiltration and agitation operation.
All the accounts in this cluster posed as left-wing ones. This one focused on the African-American community, and its Ancient Egyptian roots.
Most of its posts were memes, with little or no original language.

A way of avoiding the language errors that gave away earlier troll generations?
This one was a lot longer. It didn't have any of the systematic language errors characteristic of Russian trolls, though there was the odd typo (e.g. conducive for conductive).
But here's the thing: it's plagiarised. Compare the FB post with an earlier article from Coloured areas indicate shared language.

Reminiscent of troll writer "Alice Donovan," which plagiarised massively to produce (mostly) English-seeming posts.
And here's the other thing: compare its focus with troll factory account "Pan-African Roots Move," which has been saved on Medium by @UsHadrons.

Not conclusive, but a very similar pattern of behaviour.
That brings us to "Aztlan Warriors," which focused on Native American and Latin American communities, and, again, portrayed a romanticised past.

It was created one day before the Resisters page, too.
Some of its posts focused on white colonialism in America. Divisive content again.
It tied the issue in with the Trump administration and the separation of families. Same tactic again: inflame the present by referring to the past.
Some of the posts hinted, or more than hinted, at the potential for violence.

Not all-out incitement, but glancing in that direction.

And, again, playing on existing divides.
Like the ancestral-wisdom page, this one was eerily similar to an earlier Russian troll factory account, Brown Power, which targeted the Hispanic and Native American communities.

Compare the artwork here. (Again, h/t @UsHadrons for the archive.)
Compare the memes here. Latest FB takedown on the left, Brown Power on the right.

Not conclusive, but very definitely the same style and approach.
If anything, it was even more pointedly political and anti-Trump than Brown Power was. Compare these two, and the general vs specific approaches.
This page, "Progressive Nation", was even more specific.

"Not My President" as the banner.

Note that none of these ran ads. They're too easy to track.

The trolls are improving their security.
This one was vocally and nostalgically pro-Obama and anti-Trump. Targeting the #Resistance again.
The language was really clunky. Practically non-native.

"Whomever said he's the people president need a reality check"?
"They are a needed and important humans"?
Again, it invoked the anger of Native Americans and African-Americans. These are divisions which Russian info ops have been targeting since Soviet times.

Why wouldn't malicious actors target them now?
Again, its longer posts were drawn from other sources, not original.

Nothing intrinsically wrong in that, but also a good way of avoiding too many linguistic pitfalls. This time, the source was a 2015 article on
Noteworthy how little engagement this account had. Literally zero.

Not all info ops are successful ones, and not all target communities are equally vulnerable.
This was the final page FB shared with us before the takedown. Just two months old, and focused on New Age issues.
Again, most of its content was memes-only, and frankly innocuous.
It edged close to political content with some posts, such as this attack on the media, a classic of disinformation actors.

Too little info to draw a firm conclusion, but earlier infiltration operations we saw also worked like this.
The few longer posts it made were also taken from fringe sources, like this one, originally from
This one, interestingly, had a bigger impact - 900-odd likes and follows before the takedown.
These were the pages FB shared yesterday.

Main takeaways: they tried to weaponise divisions in America. They were better at hiding their tracks. They're unlikely to be the only ones out there.

The trolls have evolved. Our defences need to evolve too. Fast. /

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