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Russian trolls are still wreaking havoc on many Reddit communities

By William Gayde ยท 6 replies
Feb 5, 2019
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  1. An investigation by Engadget and Point has unearthed troubling details that show several Russia-linked propaganda websites and trolls are continuing to influence pro-Trump communities on Reddit.

    Last September, numerous posts on Reddit's "The_Donald" forum were discovered to have originated from the websites brutalist.press and usareally.com. Both of these domains have been linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency and individuals under investigation by Robert Mueller's team. This latest discovery shows the problem is much worse than originally believed.

    Several more Russia-linked domains have been discovered to be actively posting propaganda. While the full extent has yet to be determined, it is likely in the tens of thousands of posts with thousands of trolls sharing the content. The domains in question, alt-right.com, veteranstoday.com, and southfront.org, have all been exposed through their DNS records, domain name registrations, and Russian job postings.

    Analysis by data analytics company Gravwell and a Stanford postdoc shows that at least 89 different subreddits have been targeted. They are predominantly pro-Trump like r/ConservativesOnly, r/the_donald, and r/DrainTheSwamp, but several non-partisan communities like r/worldnews have also been included.

    Reddit administrators have been hesitant to ban particular subreddits or domains since the majority of content is legitimate. The researchers did, however, discover that "less than one percent of communities were responsible for 75 percent of antisocial behavior."

    It's very easy for a troll to post a strongly biased comment in response to a post and ignite a furious comment war. This is a quick and simple way to sow discord in a community against another community. With increased activity on a post, it would rank higher and would become more likely to be seen and shared by other users.

    Machine learning analysis of comments and domains like this is still in its infancy but there is certainly no shortage of training data to learn from.

    Lead Image Credit: Arc Digital

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2019
  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,710   +2,506

    I might be able to take stories like this seriously if these oh-so-noble watchdogs had ever devoted one second of time investigating media manipulation that supports the leftist worldview. Not only is this far more common than the Russian fake news and astroturfing but the majority of it originates right in the USA itself. It should be noted that Engadget is a notoriously biased tech site that routinely bans anyone who criticizes any significant liberal figure or any aspect of their agenda. They are to leftist causes as BGR is to Apple.
  3. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 664   +556

    Never mind. Internet comments don't mean **** anyway.
    Silvernine and Jeff Re like this.
  4. Xclusiveitalian

    Xclusiveitalian TS Evangelist Posts: 786   +173

    I use to love reddit, but now it's so toxic and cancerous that it's hard to enjoy reading anything there. Just a bunch of people attempting to push their agenda and politics on you at every turn. They should allow the user to filter out entire country IPs if they wanted, for example, if I turned off IPs not in the US then no posts or comments from those IP should show up. That would help with the Russian problem. Other than that there is no fixing reddit, to many American bots, some for personal some for cooperate pushing the agenda they want, honestly it feels like a living ad.
    psycros and Silvernine like this.
  5. Sources needed.

    The facts don't care about your opinions.
    mbrowne5061 and Silvernine like this.
  6. JamesSWD

    JamesSWD TS Maniac Posts: 331   +182

    Agreed. Ever since Trump came down the escalator, I've noted many tech mags going hard left, mixing their political opinions with tech reviews/news, banning users & comments, etc. It happened to me personally on Scientific American's website which was skewing data about shootings in an article to outright promote more gun control. Even TechSpot has a few writers who can't keep their political opinions and terminal TDS to themselves, but fortunately, they usually get called out in the comments to knock it off.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,935   +3,988

    What's "Reddit"? :confused:

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