Russian troll factories: researchers damn Twitter's refusal to share data

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Estimated number of Russian state-sponsored accounts on Twitter and Facebook vary wildly between 50 and 150,000

It is impossible to accurately estimate the number of Russian state-sponsored accounts operating on Twitter and Facebook. Researchers come up with a wide range of possibilities, suggesting that Russian interference in British political and cultural life could come from anywhere between 50 and 150,000 accounts.

The explanation for this is not because the Russians are particularly secretive or expert at covering their tracks, but the attitude of Twitter and Facebook who fight attempts by independent researchers to come up with an answer. As a result, academics and analysts attempting to come up with a definitive answer often produce wildly divergent estimates.

Strictly defined, a Twitter bot is any automated account on the social network. That can be something as simple as automatically tweeting links to news articles – most of the Guardian’s social media accounts are technically Twitter bots, for instance – to complex interactions like automatically generating Emoji-based art or automatically replying to climate change deniers with scientific evidence.

Related: British MP calls on Twitter to release Russian ‘troll factory’ tweets

Related: Thirty countries use ‘armies of opinion shapers’ to manipulate democracy – report

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Link : Russian troll factories: researchers damn Twitter’s refusal to share data


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