The University of Adelaide has published an important paper about bot accounts and Twitter’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. These Australian findings are truly staggering – of 5.2 million tweets on the social media network from February 23 to March 8, between 60 to 80% were shared by fake accounts. What’s more, 90% of those posts were pro-Ukraine.
In particular, these accounts pushed the hashtags #IStandWithUkraine, #IStandWithZelenskyy, and #ISupportUkraine, and myths like the ‘Ghost of Kiev’, a fictional Ukrainian fighter pilot who is farcically alleged to have taken down 40 Russian jets within hours of the military operation commencing.
Significant spikes in activity were recorded at key points in the initial stages of the fighting, such as Russia’s capture of Kherson on March 2, and the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant on March 4.
These accounts were all in English and led researchers to believe that they had been created to trick the public. “drive more disruption in English-speaking countries”And “influence a variety of user groups.”Although the main focus is on English, the bots of Ukraine used the Russian language. “cause more disruption”In the country
These accounts succeeded in stimulating discussion and trends about certain topics. They also kickedstart and increased online discussion on a variety of subjects. Researchers recorded “significant flows”Information from Ukrainian bots to accounts that are not-bot.
The study is the first analysis of social media content related to the conflict, and covers a very small time period – just two weeks. It is almost inevitable that the level of pro-Kiev sentiment expressed by users – troll and organic alike – will have increased even further beyond the 90% recorded during this timeframe. Numerous commentators are focusing on the militarization of Twitter and Facebook in support for the Western proxy war against Ukraine.
You only need to spend some time scrolling through social media sites and identify an abundance of anonymous registered users who are promoting pro-NATO, pro Ukraine, and pro war propaganda. They also attack anyone criticizing Western narratives. Caitlin Johnsonstone said it is. “the most aggressively trolled war of all time.”
Unsurprisingly though, the Western media – which remains overwhelmingly committed to not publishing any negative information about Ukraine whatsoever – has universally ignored the bombshell findings of this academic paper. The findings could have been related to Russia, but you can’t imagine what would happen to the coverage.
Although it is understandable that corporate news outlets are reluctant to cover matters not favorable to Kiev, this backlash can be quite severe on rare occasions.
Amnesty International released a report on Ukrainian soldiers basing their forces and weapons in residential areas. This is a dangerous practice and a war crime. CBS broadcasted a documentary three days later showing how only 30% of large-scale Western arms deliveries to Kiev make it to the frontline.
Amnesty received such an incendiary reaction to the reports via social media that it was forced into making an apology for anything “anger and distress” its disclosures caused – CBS went one further and pulled its documentary from the web. According to academic research, much of the counterblast could be attributed to automated accounts. These accounts were deliberately designed to give the impression that both organisations are being condemned.
The University of Adelaide paper also raises obvious questions about the true nature of something called NAFO – the ‘North Atlantic Fellas Organization’ – which was a leading force in the online counterblast against Amnesty and CBS. NAFO’s history includes harassing pro-Russian voices until they are permanently or temporarily suspended. The group has been praised by many prominent politicians and The Economist and Politico have given it positive reviews.
As is so often the case, dubious tactics and conduct of which Russia is widely accused cease to be villainous when it’s Western countries and their allies doing it. You might be able to question whether all the controversy surrounding Kremlin Bots on Social Media was just a smokescreen of much larger and more successful operations that are closer to home.
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