Russian Troll Houses

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member
Russian bloggers are hired to spam forums and social media sites with pro-putin and anti-west rumours, disinformation and bunk. I've never heard of these until today. Although, in hindsight I really shouldn’t be surprised they exist.

How effective is the trolling? Consider the following from a former paid troll...

They also perpetrated hoaxes involving an accident at a chemical plant in Louisiana and an Ebola outbreak in Atlanta.

The lesson being that even though the media is quick to report on sensational stories, it's important to approach news with a good deal of scepticism; Always follow the golden rule: "Thou shalt always check thy sources!"

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/putin-kremlin-inside-russian-troll-house
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html?_r=0
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_brigades

Note: I'm not sure if this post fits this new forum, I'll leave it up to the mods. Cheers
 

SR1419

Senior Member
LOL. I did a search that came up empty. Honest I did.

Oops... does this mean I'm about to get Rambled?

in the words of @Landru "You will be absorbed. Your individuality will merge into the unity of good, and in your submergence into the common being of the body" so...in other words- yes, rambles is probably in your future :D
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member
Before posting I did read the Practical Debunking forum guide. I thought the post might fall under the Links to debunking resource guideline.

I guess it's fate is now in the hands of the gods... I mean mods.
 

vitorino

Member
They also perpetrated hoaxes involving an accident at a chemical plant in Louisiana and an Ebola outbreak in Atlanta.

Content from external source The Columbian Chemicals hoax was not some simple prank by a bored sadist. It was a highly coordinated disinformation campaign, involving dozens of fake accounts that posted hundreds of tweets for hours, targeting a list of figures precisely chosen to generate maximum attention. The perpetrators didn’t just doctor screenshots from CNN; they also created fully functional clones of the websites of Louisiana TV stations and newspapers. The YouTube video of the man watching TV had been tailor-made for the project. A Wikipedia page was even created for the Columbian Chemicals disaster, which cited the fake YouTube video. As the virtual assault unfolded, it was complemented by text messages to actual residents in St. Mary Parish. It must have taken a team of programmers and content producers to pull off.

And the hoax was just one in a wave of similar attacks during the second half of last year. On Dec. 13, two months after a handful of Ebola cases in the United States touched off a minor media panic, many of the same Twitter accounts used to spread the Columbian Chemicals hoax began to post about an outbreak of Ebola in Atlanta.
I just saw something about similar phenomena:
https://www.metabunk.org/using-comedy-to-reverse-or-promote-bunk.t6361/#post-155885


About the testimonies, I can not contest them, but they do have a flavour of "being too good", almost-perfect, like written in a Daily Show office. Sure would like to see these people. Like the rules we can see here:


"first month, have 500 subscribers , get 5 posts a day"
"6 FB accounts, 3 posts a day"

There's also another former troll that filled a suit (a news report said?) but doesn't seem to have documentation:

The lesson being that even though the media is quick to report on sensational stories, it's important to approach news with a good deal of scepticism; Always follow the golden rule: "Thou shalt always check thy sources!"
I agree, we should approach this with skepticism
 

SR1419

Senior Member
There's also another former troll that filled a suit (a news report said?) but doesn't seem to have documentation:
I believe that is Ludmila Savchuk...and if that is the case she does have documentation of the actual trolling. (perhaps you are referring to her employment documentation)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
[/EX][/EX]
Russian bloggers are hired to spam forums and social media sites with pro-putin and anti-west rumours, disinformation and bunk. I've never heard of these until today. Although, in hindsight I really shouldn’t be surprised they exist.



The lesson being that even though the media is quick to report on sensational stories, it's important to approach news with a good deal of scepticism; Always follow the golden rule: "Thou shalt always check thy sources!"
so.. i just searched the hashtag (#ColumbianChemicals) on twitter and it's silly. almost all russian. the same poor english with evey tweet having a different photo attached, and not that many tweets at all. Doesnt look real at all.

Do you think twitter banned most of the accounts? because right now it certainly doesnt look like a highly coordinated campaign. it looks like kids pulling a prank.

That whole article (NY Times) sounds wonky to me. Sounds like CT stuff, i didnt see any evidence. got bored reading after a few pages but he didnt see evidence of hundreds of employees leaving or entering the building. She sounds like [you know who]... where are these emails she grabbed? and the video. do you have a link?
 

vitorino

Member
I believe that is Ludmila Savchuk...and if that is the case she does have documentation of the actual trolling. (perhaps you are referring to her employment documentation)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html
She sounds legit, it has links for the video she made (a bit strange) and the documents (in Russian)
The author has a history in exposing stuff from the internet

and strange stories
They got the photo!

Works for Gawker where privacy (of other people) doesn't seem to be a concern
There's a lot of unsavory behavior from Gawker on its Wikipedia article.

The article is really long and reads like a spy novel, with staged mettings with a NeoNazi orchestrated to frame him and lauch suspicions about him on the russian media. This is the story published the next day (by a news agency, on the same building where the agency was supposed to be, and whose manager he had interviewed)

I don't know what to think anymore..
 
Last edited:

vitorino

Member
That whole article (NY Times) sounds wonky to me. Sounds like CT stuff, i didnt see any evidence.
it sounds really strange. the issue here is that the article is written, it's well written (he's a good writer, I'll give him that), on the New York Times, he has the testimonies (the girl exists, I saw a video of her, but lost the link), all we can do is speculate and it's hard to dismiss a testimony.

I think most of the subsequent stories on other media used the same picture of the building.

He also doesn't follow through, like a journalist is supposed to do, when on a investigative work, like try to contact the management, or try to make sense of the documents (he had a translator with him) and go from there. He's mostly telling a story: him, meetings with strange people, snatched photos, adventures..

Also, there's some flowering strange stuff: she used to be an environmental activist in her home town

Oh boy, she really lost her way
 
Last edited:

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member
He's mostly telling a story: him, meetings with strange people, snatched photos, adventures..
Ya, I tend to agree. This is from the CBC interview that originally caught my attention. Not much meat.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/q/ID/2669171820/
 

SR1419

Senior Member
[Mod: Off topic material removed]

I do not think attacking the authors credibility is the best way to determine if accusations of others regarding paid Russian Trolls are true.

Have you translated the documents?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Just a reminder, Metabunk is for discussion of specific claims of evidence. Not trying to establish possible bias in order to discredit that evidence.
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member
The first document in the list is interesting. It looks like a password file. A search on a random sampling of the usernames reveals that most had accounts on Livejournal.com and they tended to be critical of the Ukraine and the US.

A few of the other documents are profiles of entities that are critical of the Russian government.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member
Mass trolling isn't confined to Russia, A few years back in the run up to the Beijing Olympics I was discussing Chinas human rights record with a couple of peeps on the forum of an online music games (the sadly defunct Prpject Rockstar) Then suddenly, and I'm talking about a time frame of about 15-20 minutes the site suddenly got 5 or 6 new members, none of which wanted to play the game, but all of which wanted to come into the China human rights thread, defending China and blaming the troubles in Tibet on the buddhist monks. The sites admins traced all the IP addies back to China, mainly in the Beijing area.

When the sites admins pointed that out and people kept asking for 'evidence' of Chinas squeaky cleanliness that wasn't from a state sanctioned Chiness news source they vanished as quickly as they had arrived
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
the site suddenly got 5 or 6 new members, none of which wanted to play the game,
yea thats always the best give away. when multiple people arrive on site in a short time frame after a specific event and who's posting behaviors are out of the norm. You would think trolls would figure that out and space out a bit.
 

Santa's sidekick

Senior Member
Mass trolling isn't confined to Russia, A few years back in the run up to the Beijing Olympics I was discussing Chinas human rights record with a couple of peeps on the forum of an online music games (the sadly defunct Prpject Rockstar) Then suddenly, and I'm talking about a time frame of about 15-20 minutes the site suddenly got 5 or 6 new members, none of which wanted to play the game, but all of which wanted to come into the China human rights thread, defending China and blaming the troubles in Tibet on the buddhist monks. The sites admins traced all the IP addies back to China, mainly in the Beijing area.

When the sites admins pointed that out and people kept asking for 'evidence' of Chinas squeaky cleanliness that wasn't from a state sanctioned Chiness news source they vanished as quickly as they had arrived
That's the best story I've heard since my days at summer camp. :) Look behind you!
 

SR1419

Senior Member
I've never heard of these until today.
I am not sure why there is a flurry of recent articles on this but the claims go back over 10yrs.

The first claims originated in Russia in 2003:

http://www.vestnik.com/issues/2003/0430/win/polyanskaya_krivov_lomko.htm

In 2012 a bunch of emails were supposedly hacked from a Russian youth group Nashi:

here is a Guardian article from 2012 about it:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/07/putin-hacked-emails-russian-nashi

here are some of the emails:

http://lj.rossia.org/users/kremlingate/1166.html?nc=1

Here is a Russian article covering the revelations:

http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1868022

Translated:
Here an article from Novaya Gazeta in 2013:

http://www.novayagazeta.ru/politics/59889.html

here are some samples from the documents released by Ludmila- a former worker:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByghjF4C91zneXl1cExGTE1qS0E/edit?pli=1

Translated

here is google translate in case anyone wants to dig around in the docs and articles:

https://translate.google.com/
 

SR1419

Senior Member
here is an interesting analysis of some of the released documents from the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung-

its been translated into English and has links to some of the documents it refers to- the other documents are from the Moy Rayon release:

http://www.stopfake.org/en/putin-s-trolls/

Here is Buzzfeed's take on it from a year ago:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/documents-show-how-russias-troll-army-hit-america#.cdypXoP2n

http://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/n...russian-trolls-targeting-obama-har#.wa7dvrpbW

This article traced some of the fake accounts to their specific comments and their supposed correlation to the talking points from that day from the released documents.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/2015/03/14/russia-kremlin-troll-army-examples/

 
Last edited:

SR1419

Senior Member
Interesting to note that the indictments handed down by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller are against the very same "Internet Research Agency" discussed in this thread almost 3yrs ago.

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/17/5866...-mueller-indicts-the-internet-research-agency
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/...version=Full&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

The same bots that were pushing for gun control early on later moved onto false flag conspiracies. Although the NYT article doesn't say so explicitly, these kind of false flag theories usually push the idea that the Government (or whatever) staged the attack to help force through gun control laws.
 
Last edited:
Top