Hi #FBPE, we need to talk about #bots, I know many of you are informed and aware, but many more of us are not, and the whole #bot thing has got to a stage that IMHO we need more general awareness - thread⏬
Please share and RT
TLDR Summary
This thread isn't technical
It has some basic education
And then deals with strategic and political issues
IMHO bots are a bigger threat than many understand
Some networking across #FBPE could help
And maybe you can help
The rest of the thread explores these issues
Three steps for everyone
1. Education
Bots (& trolls, farms) are there to spread propaganda and fake news, to create dissent, undermine. Your first protection is knowing they exist and that you’ll meet them. Just reading this makes you safer. Be suspicious of unendorsed "friends"
2. Tools
Multiple bot scans and tools are available to help you identify the bad guys. They’re NOT perfect, but they’re better than relying on guesswork, especially if you're new to this or unfamiliar with the signs. Safe URLs at end of the thread.
3. When in doubt BLOCK THEM OUT
If you think something is a bot, even if you’re not sure, block and report. If you block a troll, no harm done, you’ve made the world better. Twitter will sort the wheat from the chaff. Don’t interact, almost anything you do helps them
Those are the steps everyone can take, so if you’re doing these you’re a hero. Well done, and please share so we can educate everyone in #FBPE. Add it to your header, encourage new followers, be diligent.

If you have time to get more involved read on.
Otherwise, thank you.
The issue is a little bigger. Strategically I think we have two threats.
1. The old problem - infiltration, fake news, timewasting for #FBPE.
2. Leave. They check less, have more bots and are more susceptible.
If you're thinking, "screw them", "why should we care", read on
Some context and examples, then a request for help.
Bots are not what they were in 2016, every year they become exponentially better, this article gives you a taste of where we’re going. Anyone uninformed is a target. As are the informed...
Let me underline that - also informed
Most will know Rachael Swindon handle (intentionally not tagged)
There's a famous case study below of trouble "she" got "herself" into over the Skripal incident
If she can be fooled, so can you, no matter how informed
In short, Bots were always good at
Rallying a cause
Short term spin
Inserting fake evidence/news
Coordinating activities
Amplifying “legitimate” accounts
But we have 2 NEW AREAS
Radicalising - NEW
Making Friends - NEW
Luckily, we have lots of smart people in #FBPE who are very good at spotting infiltrators. You'll find bots if you interact with leavers, but in the #FBPE community, you're as safe as you can be. The same is not true of Leave - Example - two bots who pass MOST regular checks.
These bots aren't for us, they target and recruit Leavers. Don’t think they are 2016 simple repetitive mouthpieces. To demonstrate I recorded an interaction (exception - please don't do this). She's convincing, right?

The bots are MAKING FRIENDS with Leavers, chattering
These bots are intentionally placed to create AND sustain false narratives.
Pick your poison:
Parliament is frustrating the will of the people
2016 legitimised Single Market or Customs Union exit?
No Deal is good for trade negotiations.
Get Brexit Done
What Leavers want to hear
In the past, love them or hate them, Mainstream Media kept hatred and lies at least under control, in a box.
Now Leavers are following these bots and making friends with them, and that’s a centrally controlled below the line broadcast network.
Insidious - we must take action
The preachers of hate aren't the bearded caricatures on BBC News. They wear suits. They use the Sovereignty of Parliament over the People to keep Brexit alive. And then with Parseltongue say that Parliament is against the people to enrage the Mob. Is that not Terrorism in effect?
Indulge me while I get into how this works - it's important for understanding.
Can mere fake news do this? Can bots create hate and division?
Normally not - you're moderated by friends and the media.
But what if bots are both your friends and your media?
Not good - 2 charts⏬
After that The Method is simple, even in "moderate" UK
1. Fear the left (Corbyn),
2. Hate a patsy (immigrants)
3. Lead with MIDDLE CLASS and friends (big mistake saying Brexit is a working-class thing. Middles have more agency)
New Statesman gets it⏬
IMHO THIS is the largest undiscussed factor in Brexit. Whole swathes of middle-class middle-income England is being swept along by the Brexit tide on the right. THAT’s an exact parallel of the 1930s.
And how do you persuade the middle classes? Friends CHATTER.
If you were wondering why we might have a problem, or why we have to be concerned about Leave, I hope you understand why I'm raising this.

I'm not aware of any groups of us thinking about this strategically, politically, or with a Leave lens - please reach out if I'm uninformed
Solutions? Chatting with friends we think we have options, the first 3 are easily doable
1. Educate - hence how this thread started
2. Campaign - encourage blocking and reporting as an #FBPE thing
3. Lobbying - We need MSM and responsible politicians to see the problem
There's an absence of Leave suggestions on this list - Firstly I don't want to put them into the wild, but also because who says I'm the expert? Maybe others have better ideas, or are already working on this?
In which case please reach out
Or if you have time to help, reach out
I mentioned some more help, below you have
Bot Tool Links
Manual checking help
Evidence of Infiltration
Non technical Political strategy for countering of Bots
Case Studies
Bot Tools
No easy way around Link Shortening without editing the URL, screenshot⏬
bit.ly/botcheckme my short URL, or Google “Chrome Store botcheckme extension”
mikewk.shinyapps.io/botornot/ (tweetbotornot)
Excellent film from Mark Galeotti covering many of the points in thread but in more depth. I watched the whole thing all the way through.

Thanks to @kristof_balint for the tip.
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