Investigative team Sadbottrue has own technologies for data gathering and for meta-analysis of big data. We focused on findings and explanation of anomalies that influence on the tech companies. We are fighting against the social media and advertising fraud ecosystem.
Chapter 15. Make America Bot Again. Part six
The true story
We are monitoring the race 2016 candidate`s twitter activity like WADA monitoring sports doping usage. Let`s unlock probe B.
Since January 1 to April 1, Trump has quoted 156 bot-accounts. There are 12 accounts which are deleted by owner, or suspended by twitter, or protected, or has deleted content. We exclude data for 32 quotations for the first April decade. You can see thereview.The difference between retweets and quotation and the reasons for Trump`s twitter to use quotation we have described earlier.
The lifetime of accounts, except deleted, protected and suspended.
The oldest account was registered in 2007 year.
- 7 accounts are 8 years old.
- 16 accounts are 7 years old.
- 9 accounts are 6 years old.
- 16 accounts are 5 years old.
- 26 accounts are 4 years old.
- 8 accounts are 3 years old.
- 19 accounts are 2 years old.
- 40 accounts were registered in 2015
- 14 accounts were registered in 2016. They very fast get attention and respect from Trump`s team. If you want to be famous among trump`s bots, hire those quoted… bots.
The most simple way describe the accounts is to group they by the behavior patterns. According to this rules we have defined the basic behavior pattern for an every account.
- Account bot-retweeter has more 50% of retweets.
- Account bot-hashtagger has more 50% tweets with any hashtag.
- Account troll has more 50% reply tweets.
Among 156 accounts we found 40 bot-retweeters, 14 bot-hashtagers, 16 trolls, 7 both retweeters and hashtagers. Some of these accounts do not exist. 4 of them are deleted, 2 suspended by Twitter, 3 accounts delete their content, 3 accounts are protected. Other accounts have no specific behavior, but most tweets and retweets are about Trump.
If we change the rules and reduce the level from 50% to 30% pro-Trump retweets and hashtags, among 156 accounts we got 101 bot-retweeters and 75 bot-hashtagers.
Except a behavior pattern, there are two significant parameters for bot-detection: identity pattern and activity pattern.
Trump has quoted 16 egg-profile accounts. Why? Among them, there are accounts which exposed date of registration. Is it hard to upload a relevant picture for years? On the other side, we have found 25 accounts, that are an evidence that botnet operators use automatized picture processing. There is one logo-glitched account among 150 quoted by Trump.
We have found 44 accounts with humans photos. We exclude accounts with Trump and TV celebrities. We tried to find other photos or accounts in other social media (Linkedin, for example), and to estimate integration in real life social networks. No one of them has the similar accounts in other social networks.
Visual identity is not the only eye-catching thing. 47 accounts have no description, 61 accounts have no location. If Trump has quoted his typical voters, so 1 of 3 his voter is nobody from nowhere.
The activity patterns are different, you can compare the numbers of friends, followers, tweets and likes of different accounts, quoted by Trump.
Trump has quoted few accounts even with no content. 3 accounts were cleared by owners - all tweets were deleted.
The most interesting are protected accounts. You can read tweets from protected account only if your application for the following was approved by owner. Try to find any protected account among Trump`s friends @realDonaldTrump/following
The facts that Trump has quoted a few tweets from the protected accounts told us two things.
Either those tweets did not exist, so it was a fake quotation, or that Trump`s social media team was approved as followers with another twitter accounts.
Today we answer two questions. Why are they bots? Why are they the part the botnet?
A botnet is a set of related accounts that have a single center of control. Let's look at the common followers and following accounts.
It is easy to guess that most popular among the 156 accounts quoted by Trump is Trump himself. The first dozen is also not a surprise.
138 follows Donald J. Trump
92 - Ann Coulter
81 - Dan Scavino
80 - Eric Trump
79 - Donald Trump Jr.
78 - Sean Hannity
73 - Linda Suhler, Ph.D.
71 - Corey Lewandowski
68 - Katrina (Khaleesi) Pierson
67 - Diamond and Silk
66 - Dr. Ben Carson
65 follows Bill Mitchell
We see here the family, Trump team, the most influential supporters and Linda Suhler, Ph.D. @LindaSuhler We don’t know who is it. This mysterious person almost has no references in other sources. Her audience of 215,000 appeared out of nowhere. She has no trace of her activity outside of social networks. And there should be a lot, and they should be easy to found. There is another explanation, its audience is not humans. 98% of its activity consists of retweets, 2% is the pointless tweets with a set of standard hashtags.
13-th place is the most popular bot with a double label. 62 bots quoted by Trump follow Steph @steph93065. This account is characterized insane activity. 190K tweets at all, 386 for the last day, of which only 5 were the original tweets.
33-th place. 53 follows @ChristiChat - 212K tweets
58-th place. 42 follows @KLSouth - 473K tweets
74-th place. 38 follows @HouseCracka - 555K tweets
86-th place. 36 follows @CarmineZozzora - 271K tweets
130-th place. 33 follows @jjauthor - 612K tweets. The woman is the real person, but her account has more bot’s skills than many of bots.
394-th place. 23 follows @DMashak - 332K tweets
452-th place. 22 follows @PMgeezer - 319K tweets
691-th place. 19 follows @PatDollard - 528K tweets
787-th place. 18 follows @presidentdiary - 406K tweets
1112-th place. 15 follows @Chris_179 - 624K tweets
Follow for at least these 10 accounts, and you can see how hard is being a real supporter of Trump.
There totally 223 accounts with more than 100K tweets which are popular among the accounts, quoted by Trump. Thanks to Donald Trump, we have been able to find out a small part of his huge botnet.
Sometimes, tired of the inhuman activity, some bots need a quietness. 23 of 156 follow @TrumpUSA2016 with no tweets. Probably the creators just forget to configure the algorithm of tweeting. Unfortunately, the silent Trump is an unattainable dream.
The bots, quoted by Trump, follow very active accounts with the overwhelming number of retweets or repetitive content. The only purpose of these actions is the imitation of a large community, to increase the importance of the main character of this performance.
The last question: the common followers of these 156 accounts. More precise to say 144, as for the rest there is no data. There are 5 most active followers.
- Sarge @TrumpMyPres follows 94 bots. The very strange supporter from “Alaska, USA” who has tweet feed composed of retweets and links in the equal proportions.
- Saska Mare Reagan @saskamare follows 82 bots. This is the primitive retweeter of pro-Trump botnet, with duplicated Trump’s logo on the profile picture.
- TrumpBooksFanUSA @OldLinePatriot follows 75 bots. Hyperactive supporter and retweeter.
- TRUMP TEAM @jpm05880 follows 74 bots. Before renaming it was called JP MORGAN, that still can be seen from its screen name. It is a troll and hashtag poster.
Once again we see interconnection typical of a botnet. We can say that we found everything that is possible among the supporters of Trump. But we did not manage to find the people among them.