Hashtag manipulation = algorithm gaming

Twitter's algorithms often don't catch even these obvious examples of inauthentic activity.

To reiterate a point I've made a few times before (ha!) ...

Trending hashtags mean nothing. ImageImage

More of the same ... ImageImage

And still more ... ImageImage

And more.

Well, you get the idea.

The manipulation truly is endless. ImageImage

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More from @Verba_et_Vertus

14 Oct
Troll networks and Amplification networks are often the same entity. In such cases, judging them as separate platform abuses can do more harm than good.

This is how it works on Twitter.

(Long—but hopefully informative—thread)
A political operator “influencer” (e.g., someone who runs a politicized non-profit) builds a large acct through:

1. Acct stuffing (bots)
2. Organizing a troll network in Twitter DM rooms to “protect” his TL & “fight” the opposition (& sometimes competitors in the same space)

1.Building retweet (RT) DM rooms to amplify messaging (& slowly pulls in real users to “fight the good fight” alongside the bots/trolls)

2.Encouraging people running troll & RT accts to create multiple accts “in case Twitter silences them” (alts=bonus followers)

Read 17 tweets
3 Oct 20
Thread of responses to Twitter's poor PR attempt today re: "threats" & other forms of harassment.

Note that the threats and harassment are mostly accepted as common. Also note, in cases where the accts are reported, Twitter often does nothing.

Read 18 tweets
3 Oct 20
I wasn't joking when I said this kind of thing is rampant on Twitter--and has been for years.

Rape threats - common.
Death threats - common.
Doxxing threats (and actual doxxing) - common.
Physical abuse threats - common.
Countless other types of harassment - common.
One of my "fond" memories of a death threat came in the form of a meme (from a troll acct) that said "people want to kill you."

Twitter found no fault with the tweet.
Then there are accts like this. Pure troll. The acct has been harassing and threatening people since Nov. 2019--and it is still active.
Read 6 tweets
19 Sep 20
As expected, Klyushin is tweeting about Coney-Barrett again (as he did in Jan. 2019).

Let me repeat: He regurgitates US news & pretends the ideas are his--to screw with us.

Klyushin is a bot-troll distributor (for Russian ops--as confirmed in Vol. 5 intel report). Nothing more
Almost verbatim, Klyushin regurgitates US news. One of my faves was his thread "directing" Trump about Afghanistan troop withdrawals--nearly every word of which was taken from an Erik Prince interview published just a few days prior.

I spent a long time source-tracking bot-troll networks to Klyushin (one of many distributors I tracked)

Let me give a tiny example of why it is stunning that Twitter hasn't suspended his main acct.

These are 0 following/follower fakes pretending to be American. Note the replies ImageImage
Read 6 tweets
8 Sep 20
A quick reminder that since Twitter does not require real locations to be posted on accts, fake locations are common.

Be wary about reports that rely on location data without assessing legitimacy of the accts.

A few examples from the notorious model bot network:

FL is popular. ImageImageImageImage
Pick-a-state, any state.

How about NY .... ImageImageImageImage
Or, let's look at a mid-western state ... how about OH? ImageImageImageImage
Read 5 tweets
2 Sep 20
Soc. media "engagement" numbers can only have meaning if the engagement comes from real & individual accts.

With the sheer magnitude of fake engagement--political & commercial--on soc. media platforms, real engagement can't be determined. Thus, the metric is meaningless at best.
At worst, soc. media "engagement" as a metric is inherently deceptive.

Individuals, political groups, etc. purchase and/or create countless fake engagement. "Look how popular!"

Users & media alike validate the deception when we appeal to non-validated "engagement" as a metric.
Until platforms find a way to:
1. ensure that engagement is *real*
2. prevent (or at least disincentivize) algorithm gaming
3. not duplicate counts (Twitter counts multiple accts run by one person as "individual" accts--see SEC docs)

"Engagement" will continue to be meaningless.
Read 4 tweets

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