The Global Business of Professional Trolling – Professional political trolling remains a thriving underground industry worldwide, despite crackdowns by the largest tech companies.
Why it Matters
Coordinated online disinformation efforts offer governments and political players a quick and cheap way to skin their rivals. They also provide salaries to people who want to work, usually in developing countries.
Todd Carroll, CISO and Vice President of Cyber Operations at Cybil Angel, said:
Driving the News
Facebook announced last week that it had discovered a vast vandalism farm in Albania associated with an Iranian militant group.
- This operation is like a typical troll farm, which Facebook describes as “a physical group of operators sharing a computer and phone to jointly manage a series of fake books as part of an effective operation. It is defined as “location.”
- “The chief thing we saw was a bizarre signal of centralized coordination between various fake accounts,” said Ben Nimmo, his leader in Facebook’s Global Effect Operations Threat Intelligence. Says.
- There was a simple exposure, like the many troll farms that have become apparent in recent years. The network content was targeted at Iran but was a post on social media during regular business hours of Central European Time.
Jean le Roux, a researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Institute (DFR Lab), says the best way to stop professional trolls is to spend money on running disinformation campaigns.
- Digital Africa Research Lab and Buzzfeed News unveiled a major troll operation in Nigeria last week. A Nigerian public relations company and a UK-based non-profit have paid Nigerian social media influencers and tweeted support for Colombian businesspeople accused of money laundering. In the United States.
- According to a document obtained by BuzzFeed News, the operation is primarily in Nigeria, recruiting influencers to tweet initially twice a week for the month of the year to assist businessman Alex Saab. It was the purpose.
- Last week, Twitter reportedly suspended over 1,500 accounts to manipulate the #Free Alex Saab hashtag but told Buzzfeed News that it hasn’t yet been decided if it’s a state-backed campaign.
The Big Picture – Global Business of Professional Trolling
Professional troll farms tend to share essential attributes, which helps to alert technology platforms and researchers.
- Physical Location Sharing: Troll farms are often back by high-speed Internet and computer-paying parties to strengthen their networks. It facilitates financing and monitoring of operations that are physically co-located.
- Posts during business hours: Similar to Albanian operations. Content from troll farms tend to post during business hours with lunch and night breaks.
- Targeted Messages: Troll Farm posts tend to focus on specific political messages. Most ordinary people post on a variety of topics, Leroux said.
What’s Notable: – Global Business of Professional Trolling
So, troll farms can create symbiotic relationships between political actors looking to manipulate their adversaries and money-hungry developing nations.
- CNN and Clemson University have reveal a massive troll operation in Ghana last year that has been use for sowing division among Americans ahead of the 2020 election. It was associate with a government-sponsor troll operation call the Internet Research Agency.
- Carroll, a 20-year FBI veteran, said that when investing in Operation Troll. He saw many trolls from places like Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. “Where there is a lot of cheap labor and little surveillance.” rice field.
We Also see a lot More – Global Business of Professional Trolling
However, (Operation Troll) in Africa,” says Le Roux. It is one of the reasons Le Roux inspire DFR Lab to open an office in his home region.
- “More and extra people are joining online and socially in Africa,” he speaks. “At the same time, Africa is one of the poorest continents he has. And someone like Russia stepped in and created a simple recipe to pay someone to sit in front of a computer for him all day. I have.”
- Malicious individuals often spend a great deal of time setting up systems to pay ‘haircuts’ and trawlers without going through the bank or making them aware. Instead, they distribute through a third party.
In short, trolling requires little technical skill and benefits from it, says Carroll. “Any developing economy is susceptible to these things,” says Le Roux.
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