1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Metabunk 2018-05-18 12-37-30.
    The twitter account @jenn_m_tweets is a bot that randomly tweets every few minutes a simple opinion randomly constructed along the lines of:

    "I think that (contentious subject) is (positive/negative) and (that's good/bad)

    Some examples:

    I first saw the bod because I've got a Tweetdeck filter set up for chemtrails, and I saw the tweet: "chemtrails are fake and that's important" pop up.

    Source: https://twitter.com/jenn_m_tweets/status/997556305857515520

    Which has been repeated for quite some time, along with thousands of tweets on other topics
    Metabunk 2018-05-18 12-40-52.

    The bot appears to tweet statements that are designed to anger people in what would loosely be described as alt-right. People who listen to Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos.

    So there's a couple of questions. Firstly why does Twitter allow it? Has it just slipped under the radar?

    What is the bot for? Is it some social experiment? Part of some nefarious Russian active measure to increase dissent? Just spam to make you click on associated links? (it never posts links). It follows mostly German Tweeters, which might be a clue. But I really can't figure out what it might be for.
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  2. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    it thinks:

    no one seems to be liking or sharing it. maybe 'they' made like a thousand bots, hoping a few would get some followers and then just forgot about this one?
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. marrowmonkey

    marrowmonkey Member

    It seems like an alt-right caricature of a "liberal", I don't know much about US politics though. It seems a bit obvious it is a bot, although it is possible to get surprisingly good results with a simple set of rules. Maybe it doesn't have to be more sophisticated to be effective at whatever it is aiming to achieve?

    Bots are not against Twitter's rules.

    It can be really difficult to detect bots. In MMORPGs there are always those who use bots to cheat and it's a constant battle between the developers of the game and the developers of the bots to try to outwit each other. Maybe twitter decided it was easier to just allow them and only ban the ones they think are causing a problem and get reported (i.e. spammers)?
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  4. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    The image also either appears to be an older or photoshopped image of Lotte Verbeek. I ran the profile pic through image search and thats the closest I could find. It may not make a HUGE difference in what you're looking for @Mick West but it might give you a reference point to start with more digging. Many of the russian hack bots Ive run into on Instagram etc, have tended to use either European models or old images of European Actresses to gain followers.

    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  5. Hevach

    Hevach Senior Member

    IF it's part of the Russian bot network, they did play both sides of the table, just the results were more immediate and glorious on the far right far better than the far left.

    The whole purpose seemed to be signal amplification of the extremes, probably hoping they would feed of each other in an outrage feedback loop. Possible end goal was simply shouting down every reasonable voice so that any political debate would inevitably become wing nut vs. moonbat. Because they did feed both ends, a bot meant to incite one side could fail at that but still succeed in outraging the other.

    This one looks like it did neither, but bots are basically free - you can throw a bit of everything at the wall and only really need a few here or there to stick.
  6. derwoodii

    derwoodii Senior Member

    could it be just a test bot like a survey or a web farming exercise to gather respondent comments and accounts for later use.

    Im always amazed at how many Bots there are out in the web and curious what they are up too?? See below from another site i frequent,, 61 robots..

    1. derwoodii
    Total: 303 (members: 21, guests: 221, robots: 61)
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
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  7. Hevach

    Hevach Senior Member

    In world wide web terms, a "robot" and a "bot" are different things. A robot is a program that reads websites, a bot is something that generates input as if it were a user. Robots include search engine webcrawlers, news aggregators, some kinds of feed application (I'm not sure if the one I used back in the 90's still exists or how widely they're still in use, these days I can just open 5 or 10 or 100 browser windows and get lost instead of needing to budget my page loads for dialup time), etc, so there's a lot of them out there. A site can be configured to tell the difference between a robot and a user so that they aren't generating spurious page hits or user counts.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
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  8. FatEarther

    FatEarther Member

    No offence, but that 'bot' pic looks nothing like Lotte Verbeek. If Mick used that as a reference point, he'd be wasting his time.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    • Like Like x 6
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  10. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    Yanno, I DID see the A's but I dismissed them thinking it was something to fool facial recognition. Ive also never heard of Alamy or seen any of their work (that Im aware of) so might explain why it didnt trigger anything for me. Thanks for finding that guys.. howd you actually FIND the stock photo? The image searches I did here came up with nothing but Lotte Verbeek headshots, which is why I figured it was her. Ive not really seen her on TV or anything (dont watch much) so Im not all that familiar with her, which may also explain why I saw the resemblance but you guys didnt.
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    I used Yandex Image Search, which I find gives better results than Google or Tineye in many cases.

    I just took a crop of the relevant area and used "search by image". It was the very first result in "Similar images":

    • Useful Useful x 5
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  12. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    i forgot about Yandex.. good call. I just "save picture" from the twitter page and google only gave 2 hits. 1 trendolizer dot com for a comment she made about "gamer gate" and her twitter page.

    but .. I don't know if it means anything, when I dragged the pic saved from twitter into google images the text they put in the search box was Finnish. (and "dirty" ie mild porn type stuff). Which I have no idea what that means.. if google did it or ... I don't know.
  13. marrowmonkey

    marrowmonkey Member

    Thanks, very useful. After reading Svartbjørns post I also noticed the "a" watermark and even guessed it was an Alamy stock photo, but I couldn't find it on their site. No luck from Google either.

    I did learn Google image search has an unofficial function that lets you search for matching faces though: just add &imgtype=face to the end of the search URL (that didn't help in this case either though).
  14. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    There ya go.. never heard of Yandex either.. Thanks Trailblazer.
  15. Agent K

    Agent K Active Member

    Does the fact that Yandex finds the profile pic suggest that the bot is NOT Russian, since a Russian troll would've known to check if Yandex finds the pic?
  16. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    No. There is still a copyright watermark across her face.

    Anyone 'serious' would have spent 3 minutes and smudged the watermarks off. or used a pic with no watermarks.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Agent K

    Agent K Active Member

    Do Russian trolls count as "serious"? If so, then all the more reason it's not a Russian troll bot.
  18. marrowmonkey

    marrowmonkey Member

    Agreed, but on the other hand, if you are setting up thousands of bot accounts you might not have three minutes to spare. Might even be a fully automated process.

    EDIT: But if they were 'serious' I suppose they wouldn't have used watermarked stock photos to begin with, at the very least purchased a bunch of royalty free pictures.
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  19. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    I think all three of you guys are saying the same thing.. That it IS most likely a bot (or a Russian Bot) of some kind -because- they didnt take the time to remove the water marks, or that its an automated process.
  20. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    It's obviously a bot based on the repetitive content. The question is what is its intended purpose? It's a very simple bot, but someone has deliberately chosen the randomized content lists to make it seem (mostly) like a caricature of a snowflake liberal. Is it just some random experiment, of did something think it would have some effect?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  21. marrowmonkey

    marrowmonkey Member

    It is really simplistic and something equivalent could probably be put together by most programmers over a weekend or so. If it is based on a generic bot program the owner might not even have to do any programming, only set up an account for it and provide some keywords. The fact it used stock photo image with watermarks indicates that whoever made it wasn't willing to put much effort or money into it either. I tried searching for some of the odd phrases it uses and did not find any other accounts that use the same keywords. So there does not appear to be multiple bots that use the same set of keywords.

    It is only following 'marketing accounts'. That could actually be its real purpose. According to this NYT article some are willing to pay for fake twitter followers in order to make their account seem more popular:

    It is probably obvious it is a bot to anyone who knows a bit of programming and is used to browse the world wide web. Is it obvious to everyone though? (I can not help to wonder if the goal could have been for people to notice that it is a bot and discuss it, just like we are doing now. Fake twitter follower seems more likely though).
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  22. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not familiar with the alogrithms used to assess Twitter popularity, but do "active" followers (such as this bot, which tweets a lot) count for more than dormant followers? It could be as simple as that - create bots that would pass for human tweeters on the most cursory automated inspection.
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  23. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    I agree. although some of it's "word list" isn't typical. abortion, transgender etc are pretty trendy words but "chemtrails" and "alex jones" ? (and whoever that other guy is the bot keeps mentioning). gotta wonder where it got it's word list.
  24. marrowmonkey

    marrowmonkey Member

    Indeed, if you make a fake follower bot wouldn't you want it to avoid attention? This bot seems to do the opposite: it picks its topics from a list of politically contentious subjects.

    Also, if a company was behind the bot and they had thousands, or even millions, of bot accounts I would expect they put more effort into the bot program. They could follow each other and retweet things occasionally for example. And they would probably reuse some of the same vocabulary since it would be too laborious to write unique dialogue for each of them.

    This bot seems to be the only one of its type that I could find (my google-fu might be a bit rusty though), and It's the only one that use expressions like e.g. "and that's smashing" in that manner (that I could find).

    Twitter might decide to change its policy on bots in the future. There are interesting, fun and maybe even useful bots; but it seems like the majority are taking up a lot of resources only to game the system in a detrimental way.
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  25. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    It seems more like a kid making the account as a goof to me. It's too obviously a bot. I noticed the "a" s on her face even before I read any of the tweets.

    It also could be one of those 'satire/troll/skeptic' type people who just like to make people look dumb by falling for obvious bunk.

    could be anything.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  26. Hierophant

    Hierophant Member

    I also think it's a hobby programmer playing around. The more "serious" bots/AIs appear to fulfill functions like enraging people, looking like they're winning a discussion regardless of content, making fringe groups look bigger, or discouraging people from bothering to answer to bunk by wearing them down in pointless discussions. This seems to do none of them. I guess you could just try to contact the owner of the twitter account by talking to the bot? Maybe the solution is as easy as asking just them directly what they're up to.
  27. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    They have DMs disabled.
  28. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I've been noticing a few more bots crop up, because they retweet things I've posted about chemtrails and other conspiracy theories like HAARP. Seem to be largely far right wing themed.


    The last two are gun rights themed, and have retweeted stuff about the Vegas shooting. But the other are far more extreme. Like this:
    Metabunk 2018-07-29 21-19-12.
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  29. Ray Von Geezer

    Ray Von Geezer Senior Member