This tweet from @SenJohnMcCain received a barrage of spammy replies crammed with as many hashtags as possible. There's some variety, but all seem to contain #opmayflower2018. (Thanks @Shaun7559 for the tip.)
Looking at replies to McCain containing #opmayflower2018 results in 4808 tweets (including retweets) from 397 accounts; 983 original tweets from 47 accounts. The activity started at 6:30 PM Central on 5/11; volume is high for a little over an hour.
This table shows the frequency of the various hashtags included in the #opmayflower2018 tweets. We'll come back to the ones highlighted in blue (cyan?) later.
There's been a recent surge in discussion of conspiracy theories related to 2015's Jade Helm military exercise, following an interview where former CIA/NSA director Michael Hayden asserted that Kremlin social media propaganda encouraged hysteria over the topic on the right.
This chart shows the time of the first tweet mentioning the recent #JadeHelm story from the prominent accounts that discussed it. The majority are news organizations and left-wing users. Let's go back to 2015 and see what Twitter activity around Jade Helm looked like then. . .
I accidentally ran across various and sundry bots while searching on the #GamerGate hashtag, so here's a quick thread.
Searching the most recent 10 days worth of #GamerGate tweets for accounts that tweet 24/7 and have used the hashtag more than once in that timespan yields 20 accounts.
This table shows the apps/services used to post the automated tweets to these accounts. Cheap Bots Done Quick and twittbot are both services where one can configure one's own Twitter bot; we will likely look at these in more detail later.
We were recently made aware that @alhousedems had received a barrage of unexpected followers that look like bots. Scrolling through the recent followers, this does indeed appear to be the case. (Thanks @DePoInLa and @bweaver!)
The bots in this set are easily identifiable - they all use the default color scheme but have changed their picture, usernames are lowercase and end in numbers with 3 or fewer digits, no bio, and no tweets. @TwitterSupport
The bots follow users other than @alhousedems, and checking the recent followers of the other accounts they follow reveals that @alhourdems is not the only target. We're still rounding out the set, but have found 29838 so far after looking at 20 accounts.
Something spammy turned up in Twitter search results this morning for the Nashville Waffle House shooting. Let's take a closer look. . .
As of noon today, 684 accounts had linked to an article on verifiedtasks(dot)com titled "Travis Reinking: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". 620 of these have default profile pics and all seem to link the same posts on verifiedtasks. Also, they all post their tweets via IFTTT.
Immediately following the chemical attack in #Douma, Syria, the usual suspects are lining up to push the theory that it was a false flag.
This isn't the only time in the last couple of months we've seen "false flag" theories pushed in the wake of a chemical attack. In one case, the prime suspect is Assad's government, a Russian ally, and in the other the Russian government itself.
We downloaded recent tweets containing the hashtag #FalseFlag; the majority are related to the attack in Syria. 1744 of 1950 (89%) of the accounts involved also have #Novichok tweets on their timelines.
In the wake of the #Novichok nerve agent attack on Sergei #Skripal and his daughter in #Salisbury, a variety of suggestions that anyone other than Vladimir Putin’s government is responsible have been circulating on Twitter. #Whataboutism
I downloaded recent tweets for the hashtag #Novichok, which started seeing significant traffic March 12th. This yielded 15371 tweets from 10668 accounts. I classified the top 50 accounts by retweet volume (74% of tweets in the set) based on their attribution of the attack.
This chart shows the volume for #Novichok tweets, classified by the perspective being expressed. Note that the portion of the volume in the “whataboutism” category has increased greatly over the past 12 hours.
We downloaded tweets going back to July 2015 containing the hashtag #IStandWithIsrael. There are several spikes, including two in mid-2016. Let's focus on those.
Restricting the time range to tweets between 5/1 and 9/1/2016 leaves 25404 unique tweets (73373 including retweets) from 989 accounts. Of the 20 that received the largest number of RTs, 14 have #PJNET in their profiles.
Meet @cad66167. He's working at a job he's held for 25 years and lost two years ago. Despite a fluctuating six-figure salary, car insurance is apparently quite difficult to afford.
In his position as a hospital administrator, @cad66167 is responsible for somewhere between 400 and 600 (or 609) employees. His salary fluctuates so frequently that it requires a graph to properly comprehend.
Meet @BakedAlpacas. As the ones responsible for bringing him into being, we can say with 100% certainty that this Twitter account is a bot.
The concept of the bot is simple. He began as a parody of Baked Alaska's tweets - key words and phrases in the tweets are replaced with other words and phrases, mostly involving alpacas. Over time, tweets from additional accounts such as @AnnCoulter and @JackPosobiec were added.
We assembled a set of 22801430 tweets (8307314 excluding RTs) containing "Brexit" from1/1/2015 to present. This isn't the entire volume (occasional gaps of a few hours), but is over half and we believe it to be representative. Accounts in the legend are the 11 with the most RTs.
Here are the top 20 accounts (in terms of number of times retweeted) both before and after the day of the Brexit vote. A quick gander at the these two lists suggests that the discussion prior to the vote was mostly driven by pro-Brexit accounts and became more balanced after.
There are 1193067 accounts with Brexit tweets in this dataset. It's obviously not practical to manually categorize them all by stance on Brexit, but it's possible to come up with a reasonable estimate by looking at a statistically significant subset. How?
On his profile page, @leedelon lists London as his home. His tweet timings in GMT look reasonable. So far, so good. . .
It gets slightly more complicated when you look at @leedelon's schedule alongside the tweets indicating his country of residence. His schedule remains fairly consistent throughout, which is inconsistent with the 8 hour time difference between Japan and UK in the summer.
Meet @Malinka1102, who wants evidence presented to support the claim that she's a "pro-Kremlin troll". Let's see what we can do.
What does @Malinka1102 tweet about? 49% of her tweets contain one or more of the terms here. The lack of interest in Brexit relative to Crimea and Ukraine is particularly interesting considering she claims to be located in the UK.
The diagnosis of @Malinka1102 as a "pro-Kremlin troll" starts looking even better once you start looking at some tweets.
This analysis is based off the first 2 hours and 10 minutes of the #FreeNehlen hashtag, consisting of 2384 tweets from 583 accounts. This diagram shows the retweet/reply relationships between the accounts.
The largest node, currently named @YoungerZ____, in the retweet network also posted the first #FreeNehlen tweet. I say "currently" because this account likes to vary its name.
There was a burst in activity on the #FireRosenstein hashtag this past weekend. Let's see what there is to see, shall we? (thanks @SpencerH8sTwitr for putting us on the hunt)
This diagram shows the retweet/reply relationships for #FireRosenstein. There are a few accounts in here that have turned up in previous analyses, such as jojoh888. The left and right-leaning accounts are mostly separate here, indicated by the dashed line.
The accounts pushing the #FireRosenstein hashtag are mostly right-wing accounts; however, the opposite is true of the phrase "fire Rosenstein" - here the #Resistance conversation is larger and louder.
When Conspiracy Theories Meet and Make Friends. . . #UraniumOne
The Department of Justice announced the indictment of Mark Lambert on 11 charges on January 12th, and tweets appeared not long after attempting to tie this event to Hillary Clinton. In the limited searching I did, I was unable to find such a connection. justice.gov/opa/pr/former-…
Here's the volume of tweets containing "uranium" and at least one of "indictment", "bribery", and "one" since the DOJ announcement. Total of 132031 tweets. 10301 of those came from accounts with default profile images and less than 20 followers, suggesting bot activity.
The Social Construction of Antifa as Terrorists by the Alt-Right
We downloaded all the tweets for the last year containing the word "antifa" and started looking at them. Here are the top 20 accounts tweeting about antifa based on number of retweets.
Who is talking about antifa on Twitter? These charts show both the top 20 and 200 randomly selected accounts (obtaining by sampling without replacement) with antifa-related tweets broken down into "RWNJ" and "Other" categories.
Let’s pay tribute to @BillDeplora, a Navy veteran whose service to our country, at least based on appearances, would seem to include figuring out how to appear to be a propaganda bot.
Here are some examples of repeated (and potentially automated) tweets from @BillDeplora. Note that they alternate rhythmically. (This account first hit the radar for a recent trend of a high volume of tweets containing “Obama” and “Hezbollah”.
Here’s @BillDeplora’s tweet schedule in Pacific Standard Time, both presently and in late October/early November. Note that he claims to be in California.
We often find it harder to find botnets on the left than on the right, possibly due to our own bias, so we appreciate it when other folks point them out, regardless of how unsavory they are in the process.
As such, we want to give credit to an unfan of mine who happened to post about one that warranted exploration.
The botnet consists of (at least) 38 accounts almost exclusively tweet links to various websites. They have no personalized content whatsoever - these tweets appear to be the only use of "I'm". Also, this hardly qualified as the "lie of the year" given the available options.