, 7 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
This is an important reminder that disinformation and online manipulation come in a lot of forms and from a lot of different sources.

Attributing everything to “Russian bots” oversimplifies a complex problem and overlooks the very important human dynamics at work here. 1/
Twitter bots are simply accounts that are automated to perform certain functions on Twitter. They’re programmed by humans, often to amplify a narrative that was crafted by humans, in an effort to manipulate humans by skewing perceptions of public opinion/support/opposition. 2/
Bots didn’t create the narrative about the Kamala Harris — humans did. You can literally watch it taking shape over a span of many months.

Have bots amplified the narrative? Statistically speaking, it’s highly likely. But don’t let bots distract you from the human elements. 3/
I think it’s helpful to conceptualize these operations as part of a spectrum of inauthentic activity. The most effective disinformation campaigns involve a blend of automation and human users, and often other inauthentic activity coordinated in DM rooms, forums, etc. 4/
In terms of Russian involvement: If Russia sees an opportunity to jump on a divisive/inflammatory narrative, they usually will. Race is among the key issues Russia has seized on repeatedly. I would not surprised to see the Kamala Harris narrative popping up in RT/Sputnik soon. 5/
The manufactured narrative targeting Kamala Harris reminds me of the astroturfed #WalkAway movement, which I wrote about a year ago. This movement has sort of merged with the astroturfed #BLEXIT movement. The Kamala/race narrative aligns with both. 6/

Illustrating that point: The hashtag cloud associated with tweets using the keyword "Kamala Harris" includes (#)BLEXIT and (#)BlackHillary, which are pretty much perfectly aligned with the key talking points I identified when analyzing the (#)WalkAway campaign. 7/
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