How 80% of tweets about the Russia-Ukraine war were part of a covert propaganda campaign originating from automated fake ‘bot’ accounts.
By Marica Micallef
“With the rise of the internet, war and armed conflict will never be the same again. Others have noted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has ushered in ‘a new digital era of military, political and economic conflict’ being manipulated by ‘laptop generals and bot armies’.”
A team of researchers from the University of Adelaide discovered that in the early weeks of the 2022 Russia-Ukraine invasion, up to 80% of tweets were part of a covert propaganda campaign originating from automated fake ‘bot’ accounts.
At the start of the war, an anti-Russia propaganda campaign originating from a ‘bot army’ of fake automated Twitter accounts flooded the internet. According to the study, of the more than 5 million tweets examined, 90.2 percent of all tweets (both bot and non-bot) came from pro-Ukraine accounts, with less than 7% from pro-Russian accounts. The university researchers also discovered that these automated tweets were used on purpose to instil fear in those who were targeted, resulting in a high level of fear.
The research team examined a massively unprecedented 5,203,746 tweets with key hashtags sent in the first two weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, focusing on English-language accounts, with 1.8 million unique Twitter accounts posting at least one English-language tweet in the dataset.
“The results were published in August in a research paper, titled ‘#IStandWithPutin versus #IStandWithUkraine: The interaction of bots and humans in discussion of the Russia/Ukraine war’, by the University of Adelaide’s School of Mathematical Science.”
“The size of the sample under study, of over 5-million tweets, dwarfs other recent studies of covert propaganda in social media surrounding the Ukraine war.”
The Stanford University/Graphika study on Western disinformation, which Declassified Australia examined in September, examined just under 300,000 tweets from 146 Twitter accounts. The Meta/Facebook study on Russian disinformation, which was widely reported by mainstream media, including the ABC a fortnight later, examined 1,600 Facebook accounts.
Reports on the new study have appeared on a few independent media sites and Russia’s RT, but not much else, revealing the burial of stories that do not fit the desired pro-Western narrative.
“This ground-breaking study, exposing a massive anti-Russia social media disinformation campaign, has been effectively ignored by the mainstream Western establishment media. It’s become almost routine during the Russia-Ukraine war.”
The researchers also looked into the psychological impact that the fake automated bot accounts had on the online conversation during the early weeks of the war, which may eventually lead to support or opposition to governments and policies, but they may also have more immediate effects, influencing the target audience’s immediate decisions.
According to the study, it was the tweets from the fake ‘bot’ accounts that caused the most ‘an increase in conversations surrounding angst’ among those targeted by them. They discovered that these automated bot accounts increased ‘the use of words in the angst category, which includes words related to fear and worry, such as “shame,” “terrorist,” “threat,” and “panic.”
The researchers discovered that by combining ‘angst’ messaging with messages about’motion’ and geographical locations, ‘the bot accounts are influencing more discussion surrounding moving/fleeing/going or staying’. According to the researchers, this effect may have influenced Ukrainians to flee their homes even when they were not in conflict zones.
According to the findings, fake automated social media ‘bot’ accounts do influence public opinion by shaping the discourse, sometimes in a negative way.
“The results provide a chilling indication of the very real malign effects that mass social media disinformation campaigns can have on an innocent civilian population.”
Of course, the mainstream media will tell you that this is another conspiracy theory and fake news, labelling it a “dead internet conspiracy theory” that “feels real”.
It masked the literal deployment armies of bots across Twitter, telegram, any social network, comment section, reddit, /pol , etc. These bot agents mix in poison pills to SIGINT by, for example, having bots yell “MAGA” or “go Putin” in whatever channels they want to shut down. (Later, big data analytics announced that all homesteading channels are Putin supporters. Seriously, there are Gates-funded organizations doing this, and they intend in the future to use these “associations” to censor any voice)
These bots also sway public opinion by appealing to basic crowd psychology (recall the ashe conformity experiments) and they annoy real users who are trying to find actual factual data.
It is clearer that the mass social media disinformation campaigns have been indoctrinating you and brainwashing you to shift your opinion and go along with the narrative.
The internet is dead.