Russia's troll army?

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Don't forget it takes place in this context -
It's not an extraordinary claim.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
Don't forget it takes place in this context -
It's not an extraordinary claim.
It's not an extraordinary claim; neither are a lot made here on this very site about the US, but they are framed as such. But regardless, claims require evidence. Not just 'some hacked emails' from 'some Russian hacker.'

From your source:
[bunk]The call, which was randomly intercepted by highly capable but unidentified intelligence operatives[/bunk]
How incredibly convenient, aye?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Let's look at the emails then. That's the claim of evidence. What's the provenance? What do they contain?
 
Last edited:

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
How incredibly convenient, aye?
Yes, for Russian interests, which was the point.

Let's look at the emails then. That's claim of evidence. What's the provenance? What do they contain?
From the 2012 guardian article.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, but is there evidence beyond the contents of the emails that indicates they are genuine? Or are the contents sufficient?
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
The question here is if there are a lot of people employed to spread pro-Russian propaganda on the Internet, and if these emails are evidence of such.

The question is NOT if pro-Russian propaganda exists, or does not exist.

The question is NOT if it would be justified or not.

It's just about the claims of evidence made in this article:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/documents-show-how-russias-troll-army-hit-america
Right, and there is only speculation based on hacked emails from some Russian hacker.

You just asked me if it was reasonable to assume Russian propaganda existed. Now you're saying it's not about that. I guess your last post was aimed at...yourself.

No, not at all. Governments have propaganda department. Do you think that this type of thing is not likely? I seems reasonably likely to me. The question here is if the evidence supports it.

So it's ok to posit your opinion but not expect a response? Why?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Right, and there is only speculation based on hacked emails from some Russian hacker.

You just asked me if it was reasonable to assume Russian propaganda existed. Now you're saying it's not about that. I guess your last post was aimed at...yourself.

I asked you rhetorically in response to your question "Quite a huge leap, isn't it?"
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/russias-troll-army.3761/#post-108782

It's not about if Russian propaganda exists, because it very obviously does. We don't need examples of it, nor do we need counterexamples of Western propaganda, which also obviously exists. That's not the issue here.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
Ok, so you're asking that question rhetorically as if it is proof that these allegations are legit?

If not, what was the point of that question?
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Or are the contents sufficient?
That seems to depend on personal preference. It seems highly likely to me given what we know about cold-war Russia and the current trend towards the old ways and I'm content with that, but if someone digs further and finds evidence to indicate otherwise or call it into doubt then I'd have to revise.

Josh, do you have any evidence or reasons to think that the claim is not true?
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
That seems to depend on personal preference. It seems highly likely to me given what we know about cold-war Russia and the current trend towards the old ways and I'm content with that, but if someone digs further and finds evidence to indicate otherwise or call it into doubt then I'd have to revise.

Josh, do you have any evidence or reasons to think that the claim is not true?
It's a claim...why is the burden of proof on me?
I'm just wondering why certain people are latching on. Seems odd to me.

Seems like people are playing 'connect the dots' here.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Ok, so you're asking that question rhetorically as if it is proof that these allegations are legit?

If not, what was the point of that question?

Slow down Josh. This isn't a semantic game.

Rhetorical questions illustrate a point. I ask you if Russian might be engaged in propaganda because its obvious to everyone that they do, as do the US.

You asked me if it was "quite a leap". I assumed you mean that it was a leap to believe that these emails were genuine. I said it seemed reasonably likely. I'd give it 50%, based on my limited knowledge.

How much of a leap do you think it is? Put it into numbers, what is your degree of confidence (as a percentage) that the emails are fake?
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
Given that we don't know the source (once again, some hacker), and America is just as likely to put out propaganda...less than your 50%.
I think you need to slow down. Can you follow?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
You you think there's a 1 in 20 chance that this is real. Seems significant enough to look into then. Maybe you should read some of the emails? Some of the surrounding discussion?

You also think there's a 19 in 20 chance it's an elaborate fake. Either way it's a very interesting story.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
You seem to be giving this anonymous source too much credit.

Did you read the Guardian story? There's a lot of corroborating evidence.

And anecdotally, I've notice a strong pro-Russian trend in Alternative media that does not seem to be justified by reality. A lot of RT regurgitation, and a lot of defending Putin. I've been noticing this for the last year. Too speculative to mention, but now we have some evidence to discuss. I think it's a little hasty to just throw it away with "oh, it's anonymous".
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Given that we don't know the source (once again, some hacker)
and America is just as likely to put out propaganda...less than your 50%.
So that's it, because America is 'just as likely' to put out propaganda, this story is probably false? That's not a reason.
And if you're saying America is just as likely to put out propaganda as Russia, then by your own logic, it's likely.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
You you think there's a 1 in 20 chance that this is real. Seems significant enough to look into then. Maybe you should read some of the emails? Some of the surrounding discussion?

You also think there's a 19 in 20 chance it's an elaborate fake. Either way it's a very interesting story.
You diss conspiracy, but (for some reason) you hitch onto this one?

The guardian article (from 2012) is more speculation! More talk of 'hacked emails!'


So that's it, because America is 'just as likely' to put out propaganda, this story is probably false? That's not a reason.
And if you're saying America is just as likely to put out propaganda as Russia, then by your own logic, it's likely.

Great. Some anonymous group. Lies as far as I'm concerned. I'm saying if you're going to claim the US and Russia can put out propaganda, why believe it's russian and not the US? Why pick either? Unless you have a bias.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
I don't believe everything I read on the Internet. Especially baseless assertions from news sites, obtained from emails from anonymous hacker groups.



Do you mean you think it's American shills pretending to be pro-Russian commentators to create anti-Russian sentiment?
It's one possibility of many. None of which should be jumped to as a conclusion. Not without facts. I see enough speculation to make my head spin, but nothing can be seriously verified.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
I guess I better sleep on it.

I just can't jump to conclusions over some (supposedly) anonymous hacked emails, that's all.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
What about the claim of rival groups of commentators, is that just as much a baseless assertion or do you give that any more or less credence?

Do you give this any more or less credence, or is it just another baseless assertion?
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
What if they are trying to influence opinion by generating antagonism and controversy?
Semantics, but if you look at RT, they rarely say "Russia is great", instead they stir things up by discussing American involvement in things, even suggesting 9/11 was "an inside job"
It's more effective and less obvious than open shilling. Remember last year or the year before when news came out about China's internet commenter "farms" that the government used to generate positive internet postings? They were always nothing but glowing praise for China and everything it did, often to the point of absurdity. It made them ineffective to the point of comedy, and a joke among other Chinese internet users.

During the last days of the rebellion and around the Crimean annexation, there were claims Russia was doing this. I saw some screencaptures of suspected shills, and they were a throwback to the, "What tanks? I see no tanks!" denial you saw back during the invasion of Czechoslovakia. It was the sort of thing that didn't seem to work even in pro-annexation echo chambers.
 

Joe

Senior Member
Cheeky bugger.
Come on, try and be constructive.
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
I'm not here to debunk propaganda; I'm also not here to promote it.

They're not asking you to debunk Propaganda Josh, they're asking you to provide evidence that you believe their claim is bunk or false.. thats all. Personal incredulity isnt going to do it.. and while I agree with some of what you're saying, I havent seen evidence other than what's been provided here so far. Dont take this as Mick and the others baiting you, or trying to push you.. they're just asking for you to provide any evidence you have to the contrary of their own.. thats all.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
I'm respectfully backing out of this one for now. I just don't trust this hacker source, that's all.

I'll dig up some emails from a hacker claiming there's trolls paid by the US government posting on metabunk. Then we'll see the total opposite response. Even though many people have made this claim before and the evidence would support that claim, it would be the absolute opposite, a denial that it's real.

But you'll trust this Russian source because it fits your own preconceived notion! It looks like confirmation bias from where I'm sitting. I don't trust this case or the hypothetical one I made up.

They're not asking you to debunk Propaganda Josh, they're asking you to provide evidence that you believe their claim is bunk or false.. thats all. Personal incredulity isnt going to do it.. and while I agree with some of what you're saying, I havent seen evidence other than what's been provided here so far. Dont take this as Mick and the others baiting you, or trying to push you.. they're just asking for you to provide any evidence you have to the contrary of their own.. thats all.

There's no incredulity here; it's not 'I don't believe it,' it's more like 'I haven't been given a reason to believe it based on what's been presented.' It's not up to me to prove why I don't believe it; it's up to the source to prove it's true.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I don't trust anonymous information. I'm not saying any of this is true. I'm saying it does not seems unreasonable.

The thread partly falls under the meta debunking exemption - as the presence of paid shills on the internet around particular topics has implications for debunking. Is it real? How much? How can you deal with it? How can you avoid being accused of it? Can you detect it? Is there any here?

I think it's also going to be significant for the future of discussion on the internet - especially when AI chatbots start getting in on the act.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
I don't trust anonymous information.
I would trust anonymous information, under the premise that the information can be verified in some way.
I'm not saying any of this is true. I'm saying it does not seems unreasonable.
Good! We're on the same boat.

The thread partly falls under the meta debunking exemption - as the presence of paid shills on the internet around particular topics has implications for debunking. Is it real? How much? How can you deal with it? How can you avoid being accused of it? Can you detect it? Is there any here?
How can we find out? FOIA requests? How could we find out about programs without some whistleblower or in this case, hacker, bringing things to light? I've always been curious. Even in the late '90s when I first started using the internet, I remember occasionally thinking "why wouldn't a government have people on the Internet, spying and swaying opinion?" It seems reasonable, but I never had real evidence of it.

I think it's also going to be significant for the future of discussion on the internet - especially when AI chatbots start getting in on the act.
So you don't think they already are out there?
 
The article in the OP sems to mainly discuss actual Russians, with their bad English. Is there any evidence of US citizens being recruited to do similar things?

there are many Russians that know proper English, so why paying anyone who doesn't have basic language skills? It just doesn't add up.

The thing is Russia has 150 million people (or so) and there are many of those with nothing to do but troll american news sites(especially with recent hysteria about Ukraine), no need to pay them...
 

Gib

New Member
Interesting to look at this thread 5 years later, now that we know how comprehensive the Russian troll activity was in attempting to influence the 2016 US presidential election.
 

Gib

New Member
What's more, Trump is now saying that he will take campaign assistance from Russia.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/us/politics/trump-russia-fbi.html?module=inline

“It’s not an interference,” he said in an interview with ABC News, describing it as “opposition research.” “They have information — I think I’d take it.” He would call the F.B.I. only “if I thought there was something wrong.”

[On Thursday, Mr. Trump equated taking dirt from Russia with presidential diplomacy.][/I]
 

Agent K

Active Member
She did not directly name check Trump but I think it's clear who the FEC chair is aiming this tweet at.

Source: https://twitter.com/EllenLWeintraub/status/1139309394968096768

"Anything of value from a foreign national", that's awfully broad, conflating foreign nationals with foreign governments. Is there a problem with the Russian or Belarusian national Vitali Shkliarov advising the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Obama, and other Democrats?

 
Thread starter Related Articles Forum Replies Date
Mick West Claim: Julian Assange offered pardon to "Lie" for Trump Current Events 20
Stefan Leahu Russian ammo depot explosion near Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk Current Events 14
Mick West Russian Nuclear Sub Fire Kills 14, Current Events 9
Mick West Russia Predicts US Will Use Fake Chemical Attack In Syria as Pretext for Missile Attacks Current Events 9
Mick West Alex Jones Deplatforming and Related Conspiracy Theories Current Events 49
Mick West "UFO" Crash in Russia Near World Cup Match - Rocket Part UFOs, Aliens, Monsters, and the Paranormal 4
Whitebeard Sergei Skripal 'Nerve Agent' Attack Current Events 46
Mick West RT Promoting Flat Earth? Flat Earth 31
MikeG Debunked: Podesta Received $35 million from Russia Conspiracy Theories 5
jim oberg Strange cloud UFO over Russia November 2011 Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 0
MikeG Massive Deployment of American Tanks Against Russia Conspiracy Theories 14
S Claim: Russian radar would have picked up MH17 missile Flight MH17 15
Mick West Did Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev say "World War"? General Discussion 28
txt29 Claim: harvesting energy from Schumann resonances and Earth's EM field (ADGEX) Science and Pseudoscience 27
Mick West Debunked: CyberBerkut Video Supposedly Showing Staged ISIS beheading of Foley Conspiracy Theories 37
M Claim: Robert Parry: Australian 60 Minutes fudged evidence to pin blame on Russia Flight MH17 21
SabreSaint Debunked: Russia to supply weapons to Mexico Conspiracy Theories 19
D RF humaid convoy to Donbass unloaded weapons and ammo 30th Nov 2014 General Discussion 0
Gridlock Russian DashCam 'Explosion' General Discussion 6
cmnit Debunked: No persistent contrails in Russia Contrails and Chemtrails 67
Josh Heuer MH17: Russia Claims Ukranian military plane flying nearby before incident Flight MH17 121
MikeC Claims of Russia rigging the Crimean referendum General Discussion 11
Tobes Debunked: Movie producer Nathan Folks claims bombing false flag, Voice of Russia says blood too red Boston Marathon Bombings 134
Emeline "Alien Creature Caught in Russia" [Slender Man Hoax] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 6
nanotchi Debunked: Iran claims Snowden Documents Proving “US-Alien-Hitler” Link Stun Russia [Sorcha Faal] UFOs, Aliens, Monsters, and the Paranormal 2
PowerSlug Russia Today..... Trustworthy? General Discussion 118
JFDee Meteorite trail near Chelyabinsk, Russia Contrails and Chemtrails 48
G Russia practices weather modification by spraying cement m-500 Contrails and Chemtrails 1
Trigger Hippie Russian Troll Houses Practical Debunking 24
Agent K Serpentine flight pattern over Los Angeles Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 18
MikeG Explained: EU Army Deployed to Paris Conspiracy Theories 1
Mick West Explained: Head Of The Army Admits to "Little Green Men" [Covert Russian Agents] Conspiracy Theories 7
Spectrar Ghost Claim: Army Manual Outlines Plan To Kill Rioters, Demonstrators In America Conspiracy Theories 0
M Claim: MH17 was shot down by separatists using BUK stolen from Ukraine army Flight MH17 32
Lode Debunked: Fake City / "US Army Trains for Martial Law In US." General Discussion 168
Belfrey Debunked: Retired Army General Al Cuppett People Debunked 15
Charlie Primero Army Air-Sprayed Poor Americans in Texas and St. Louis Contrails and Chemtrails 45
Related Articles





































Related Articles

Top