Data Scientist/Musician/Participant in the General Confusion @trutherbotprop
Resist autocracy and research/counter disinformation. I serve the realm.
31 added to My Authors
Dec 3 • 6 tweets • 6 min read
Here's a look at a smallish astroturf network targeting @SafeguardDefend (a non-profit group that has released multiple reports on human rights abuses in China) with spammy duplicate tweets. #SaturdaySpam
This network consists of 25 Twitter accounts created in multiple batches in September and October 2022. Thus far, all their tweets were tweeted via the Twitter Web App, and they generally go silent for two days a week (Friday and Saturday in US Pacific Time).
Nov 30 • 9 tweets • 6 min read
Meet @patfkauffman, a "TRUMP 2024!" account motivated by freedom and hard work with over 44 thousand followers. Although this account may at first glance appear authentic, there are multiple problems.
First, @patfkauffman's profile pic is a GAN-generated face. The image has been cropped, preventing it from being detected by facial feature position, but other anomalies remain, such an incorrectly shaped ear and weird artifacts where the hair, skin, and clothing meet.
Nov 26 • 4 tweets • 5 min read
As it turns out, the @milanvanacker22 account is one of a set of a dozen cryptocurrency/NFT promoter accounts currently up for sale for impressive prices. The total sale price of all twelve accounts is almost $30,000. #ExtremelyBoringWaysToWasteMoney
These twelve "NFT promoter" accounts (along with a few others) are being sold by a group of four users on accs-market(dot)com: "NFT Promoter", "xGo Agency", "Mark crypto", and the rather boringly-named "accounts".
Nov 20 • 5 tweets • 3 min read
It's a Sunday, and some chucklehead has decided to bestow ~24,000 newly-created fake followers on my account. All are accounts created in November 2022 with 0 tweets, a default profile image, or both.
In a possibly related development, this recent tweet linking a Substack post about detecting fake followers has been spammed with likes from random NFT accounts:
Despite being at least seven years old and having few or no tweets, these accounts have somehow accumulated over 50,000 followers each. In an interesting twist, almost all of those followers were created in November 2022.
These newly-minted followers are part of a fake follower network consisting of (at least) 157,342 accounts created between November 3rd and November 13th, 2022. All follow ~100 accounts and have 0 tweets, 0 likes, and few or no followers of their own.
Nov 10 • 4 tweets • 3 min read
It's a Thursday, and a variety of Twitter accounts with GAN-generated faces have paid $8 for a blue checkmark. #BlueCheckShenaniGANS
Unmodified GAN-generated faces (so far) have the telltale trait that the main facial features (especially the eyes) are in the same position on each image. This becomes evident when one blends the images together.
Nov 7 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
Fake journalist accounts have been a problem on Twitter for a while now, and giving their operators the ability to slap a blue checkmark on them for $8 will in no way improve this situation.
Lots of folks got fooled by @SherylLewellen, a fake journalist account with a GAN-generated face created by far-right group Patriot Front. Does anyone really think groups like this wouldn't drop 8 bucks to make their bogus creations more convincing?
In a fascinating coincidence that almost certainly isn't a coincidence at all, these four extremely similar-looking "social media marketing" websites also have extremely similar IP addresses.
These sites all offer basically the same services: followers, likes, and views on a variety of platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Telegram. More esoteric services such as the ability to trend topics on Twitter in specific countries are also available.
Oct 28 • 8 tweets • 8 min read
It's always a great day to look at various suspicious Twitter accounts with GAN-generated faces. #FridayShenaniGANs
("GAN" = "generative adversarial network", the AI tech used by thispersondoesnotexist.com and similar tools to generate fake faces)
First up, we have @Danv30392521 and @News_World_Tech, a pair of accounts with GAN-generated faces that spam links to an obscure website named curiosityguide(dot)org. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a prominent theme of their content.
Oct 25 • 9 tweets • 7 min read
Meet @marymodestus and @marymodestus1, a pair of pro-Russia "breaking news" accounts with a penchant for presenting stock photos and other plagiarized images as "reporting" on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
For example, this image from an October 2022 @marymodestus tweet about Russian forces in the Kherson region is actually a stock photo used in a 2021 Reuters article unrelated to the current war in Ukraine.
Oct 22 • 6 tweets • 4 min read
At first glance, coupons(dot)ivoicesoft(dot)com appears to have lots of satisfied customers. These alleged "customers" all have GAN-generated faces, however.
As of October 21st, 2022, coupons(dot)ivoicesoft(dot)com contained 96382 reviews from 2037 alleged "customers", all of whom have GAN-generated faces. The site appears to contain no reviews from real people whatsoever.
Oct 19 • 6 tweets • 5 min read
Meet @trending911 (permanent ID 1253584363352207360), an exciting and dynamic "news" account that promises BOMBSHELL REPORTING on topics censored by Google, Youtube, and Big Tech. As is often the case, all is not quite as it seems.
Despite being created in April 2020, @trending911 gained almost all of its 16K followers very recently. We can tell because the account's 35th follower was created on September 4th, 2022, which means that all subsequent followers followed @trending911 on or after that date.
Oct 16 • 7 tweets • 4 min read
One can't help but admire the astonishing and amazing alliteration in these astroturf accounts' autobiographies (alongside the abject absence of authenticity).
These accounts are part of an astroturf network consisting of (at least) 9660 accounts created between 2010 and 2018 (mostly in 2012/2013). All of their biographies consist of 10 words that begin with the letter "A" drawn from the same set of 20 words.
Oct 12 • 7 tweets • 4 min read
Here's a network graph for a popular hashtag. Since the graph has no labels, you can't tell what hashtag it is, or what anything in the graph actually means, but it's colorful and pretty and weird and therefore incredibly tempting to retweet, right?
The hashtag in question is #CatsOfTwitter, and here's a more boring-looking version of the same graph with more context. The interaction being graphed is retweets, with the more frequently-retweeted accounts shown larger on the graph, and the date range is also included.
Oct 10 • 4 tweets • 4 min read
Meet @DixonCox12 (ID 1329868424382705668), a right-wing shitpost account with a stolen profile photo, 20 thousand followers, and a variety of logically unsound opinions.
Many of @DixonCox12's tweets have gone quite viral. Recurring themes include COVID vaccine misinformation, evidence-free insinuations that the 2020 US election was illegitimate, and bizarre claims that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a money laundering scheme by the Democrats.
Oct 8 • 6 tweets • 4 min read
It's always a great day to not buy used Twitter accounts from shady websites, and this batch of merchandise being sold by "VIP STORE" on accs-market(dot)com is particularly worthless. #FridayFail
Although some of the accounts being sold have impressive numbers of followers (@nft_projects_s has just over 100 thousand), almost all of these followers are empty accounts created in September or October 2022.
Oct 6 • 8 tweets • 4 min read
Meet @gracessnow1 (permanent ID 926799990), allegedly an anti-Trump Account Manager from Washington, USA. At least three things are not as they seem, however.
First, a quick reverse image search reveals that @gracessnow1's profile photo also appears on LinkedIn as the profile photo of an "Account Manager", but with a completely different name: "Alexandra Sanderson" rather than "Grace S Snow". The alleged employers also differ.
Oct 3 • 10 tweets • 8 min read
Meet @nftsmmpanel, a Twitter account created in August 2022 that sells likes, followers, and retweets via a shady website. Can we find some of its merchandise? (Spoiler: yup) #SundayAstroturf
Sohsh(dot)com, the website promoted by @nftsmmpanel, offers a variety of services (followers, likes, etc) on a variety of social media platforms, including Twitter, Telegram and Instagram. It also offers an API (applications programming interface) to automate purchases.
Sep 28 • 7 tweets • 7 min read
Meet @SpartacusJustic, @Lakovos_Justice, and @ClarkOlsin, a trio of accounts with superheroesque profile pics and a penchant for tweeting conspiracy theories about vaccines (mostly, but not exclusively COVID vaccines).
One of the three accounts (@SpartacusJustic) has repeatedly gotten thousands of retweets on tweets containing various bogus claims about COVID vaccines causing mass death/illness and an alleged secret plot by Bill Gates to depopulate the planet.
Sep 25 • 8 tweets • 5 min read
Hospitals don't generally get a ton of engagement on Twitter. That all changes, however, when right-wing propagandist LibsOfTikTok tweets about them, resulting a deluge of (mostly hostile) replies and mentions. Here's what that looks like in graph form.
Unsurprisingly, the same thing happens when LibsOfTikTok tweets about a school or school district - the school or district's previously obscure Twitter account gets swarmed by LibsOfTikTok's followers.
Sep 22 • 7 tweets • 6 min read
Meet @proogb, allegedly an Atlanta City Council member, ex-CNN employee, and Kamala Harris schoolmate named Gabrielle Prooth.
There are some problems, however: nobody on the Atlanta City Council is named "Gabrielle Prooth", and @proogb's face is GAN-generated.
How can we tell that @proogb's face is GAN-generated? There are a few tells, most obviously the flesh-colored patches on the glasses where the blue background should be.