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 21. Missouri for...?
The true story
Social media statistics are difficult perceived by man. Our imagination can't create pictures based on big data. But the stories with the semi-criminal plot it visualizes well. You can bring tons of data and doesn't prove anything. But it is enough a ridiculous story about the mistake that could not be made by human, and another evidence becomes unnecessary.
We have been writing about political campaigns in social media, claiming that the basis of the main activity is simulated by using botnets and cyber factories. The number of real supporters, acting in accordance with the beliefs, is actually very small.
There are thousands of accounts, no one has ever heard of, but who are actively involved in creating the illusion of vast audience. They definitely controlled automatically. If they really would run by people, this story would have never happened.
You might remember the main character of the previous series of articles Jona Moore. His account signed on 2lists. The first was created by him, it is a list of Trump 20K Twitter Club. Thesecondnamed “Trump-2016” and belongs to bot retweeter NH_FOR_TRUMP .
At first glance, this is another list of pro-Trump bots.
But if we scroll below, we can make the unexpected finding.
Yes, this account with a default profile picture actually supports Bernie Sanders. But, for some reason, it has a screen name modem4trump, and is on this list.
According to mytwitterbirthday, it was created at a very early stage of the election campaign.
According to bioischanged it had exactly the same invitation to the primaries in the description, but earlier it was the Republican primaries. And the phone number was different too.
What happened? Why does one account at first supported the candidate from one party, then another, but 3000 of his followers did not notice this change?
We can say exactly that change have occurred between 16 December 2015 and 15 January 2016. Perhaps, this egg is purple, because it is a medium color between red and blue?
This is the last tweet for Trump, and that’ one is the first for Sanders. How can it be explained? The only reasonable explanation is that the creators of botnets of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the same people.
For some reason, this account stopped working for Trump in December. Usually, the creators of such accounts remove all the content, rename and set it aside for future use. But there was some mistake, perhaps, this task was entrusted to an irresponsible employee. Perhaps, he deliberately did not change anything, knowing that nobody would ever see this account. How wrong he was.
Nevertheless, he changed only background picture and name. Everything else, including the screen name, remained the same. This account was registered in the State of Missouri with a local phone number, it was reasonable to continue to use it according to its location. Such account can cost up to $ 20. They decided to save money by using an existing account for another task.
We can see the link in the tweet from 7 April, after a silence during February and March. It shows they create such accounts not only on Twitter but also Facebook MOBernieSamders.
But let’s return to our account and see how it has changed the behavior in other forms. At first, look at likes.
In its following, we also see an explicit separation. The last friend from Trump’s botnet in December, first friends from Sander’s botnet in January.
So look following in 2015.
2016 brings a striking change in this account.
The change occurred with its followers too. More precisely, the most interesting were those changes that have not happened. Since January 2016, the account became a part of the botnet supporting Bernie Sanders, and it was followed by other similar accounts.
According to its new goals, it is absolutely normal. There is another problem. No one has removed it from the pro-Trump botnet list and fake Trump supporters continued to follow it as if nothing had happened. Look, it's very funny.
On this day, Trump’s bots were clearly much more active.
This time, Bernie prevailed over his opponent.
In this picture we see how Trump supporters crowded around a lonely America needs Bernie.
We have one last question, which is always of interest: who is behind the botnet?
We don't know who but know exactly who knows.
One of the last it's actions was a retweet of verified account of Missouri Democratic Party.
How related Missouri for Berni and Missouri Democratic Party? Ironically, but the democratic verified account follows this renegade.
No there is no mistake, the Missouri Democratic Party account shows us the same thing.
A person who runs an official account knows exactly all the social media secrets, includes the names of botnet owners. This is an important question, but so does it matter who done the work, if we know who paid for the job? Perhaps the main thing is the question of a budget, these costs have been paid.
Modem4trump is not the only anomaly, that proving total usage of political botnets. The other anomalies, statistics and data are available upon request.
The bot’s facts
1. Usage of fake supporters is the legal and effective technique for imitating public endorsement and launch of anti-rivals media scandals.
2. All the race 2016 candidates use social media bots.There is no federal law, prohibiting fake audience for politics.
3. Political botnets is a large business with complex management organization. Trolling operations, content management, and mass accounts operations are divided between different groups of employees.
4. Mass accounts operations are executed by an automatized botnet management system. There is one group of developers, who created and operated botnets for different candidates.
The sad questions
1. Is there a shadow budget for the political botnet market?
2. How much money all candidates spend on social media war with each other?
3. How much earns the real beneficiary of political botnets, who are imitating the social media war with themselves?
The appendix. The examples of abnormal behavior
At various times, it tweets from different locations. August 26 account had connections from three different states. It is evident that the operator used the proxy.
17 Aug - Missouri
20 Aug - Alabama
24 Aug - Missouri
25 Aug - Dubuque, IA
26 Aug - Dubuque, IA
26 Aug - Kansas City, MO
26 Aug - South Carolina
27 Aug - Kansas City, MO
3 Sep - Kansas City, MO
3 Sep - New York
14 Sep - Dallas, TX
15 Sep - Los Angeles, CA
29 Sep - Missouri
The account posted links to media that are opposed to Trump. In some articles, Trump looks quite silly. It is much more like an automatic reposts by keywords for bot’s audience than attracting voters.
Some likes look even more strange for the propagandistic account.
The last tweet for Trump and very belated reaction to it.
First tweet for Sanders. Nobody doesn't upset the strange screen name of pro-Sanders account, even pro-Trump trolls.
The account is not only involved in the conversations but for some reason retweets the answers.
Next, you can see an excellent example of how to react botnet responding at the mention of keywords and hashtags. It's funny, that after the first reply the following reaction took place a week later, and the latest was two months after the tweet.