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Active Measures, Disinfo, Propaganda

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1 hour ago, Anastasis said:

Interesting new study related to the influence of Russian social media activity on political attitudes and behaviors.

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/11/20/1906420116

Assessing the Russian Internet Research Agency’s impact on the political attitudes and behaviors of American Twitter users in late 2017

Abstract

There is widespread concern that Russia and other countries have launched social-media campaigns designed to increase political divisions in the United States. Though a growing number of studies analyze the strategy of such campaigns, it is not yet known how these efforts shaped the political attitudes and behaviors of Americans. We study this question using longitudinal data that describe the attitudes and online behaviors of 1,239 Republican and Democratic Twitter users from late 2017 merged with nonpublic data about the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) from Twitter. Using Bayesian regression tree models, we find no evidence that interaction with IRA accounts substantially impacted 6 distinctive measures of political attitudes and behaviors over a 1-mo period. We also find that interaction with IRA accounts were most common among respondents with strong ideological homophily within their Twitter network, high interest in politics, and high frequency of Twitter usage. Together, these findings suggest that Russian trolls might have failed to sow discord because they mostly interacted with those who were already highly polarized. We conclude by discussing several important limitations of our study—especially our inability to determine whether IRA accounts influenced the 2016 presidential election—as well as its implications for future research on social media influence campaigns, political polarization, and computational social science.

Some of the key findings.

Fig. 1 presents standardized coefficients from this model, showing that the strongest predictor of IRA interaction is the strength of respondents’ echo chambers (measured as the percentage of political accounts they follow that lean toward the respondent’s own political party). The 2nd strongest predictor of IRA interaction is overall political interest, followed by frequency of Twitter usage. Though Republicans appeared more likely to interact with IRA accounts than Democrats, this association is not statistically significant. To summarize, our initial analysis indicates that the respondents most likely to interact with trolls were those who may be least susceptible to persuasion effects—because of their more entrenched political views.

Fig. 2 reports the ATTs of interacting with IRA accounts on each of the outcomes in our model with intervals derived from the 97.5th and 2.5th quantiles, respectively. These effects were standardized to have a mean of 0 and SD of 1 to facilitate interpretation. As this figure shows, IRA interaction did not have a significant association with any of our 6 outcome variables. Figs. 35 plot the individual treatment effects of troll interaction against the variables associated with troll interaction, collapsed into binary categories to facilitate interpretation. Fig. 3 shows no substantial differences in the effect of troll interactions, according to level of political interest across each of our outcomes. Figs. 4 and 5 report no substantial differences for frequency of Twitter usage or party identification, though there is a suggestive difference between Republicans and Democrats in change in the number of political accounts that respondents followed. We observed no other heterogeneous treatment effects by all other covariates in our models either (SI Appendix).

 

They polled people who were already affiliated with a political party to draw a general conclusion that's also inclusive of undecided/unaffiliated voters? Call me crazy, but I don't think that's supported by their data.

But your enthusiasm in posting something (in armybrat size font, nice touch) that's arguing the russian's weren't all that bad is duly noted. Perhaps you'd like to tell us that both sides fuck with democracy so it's all gucci mayne?

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Sorry about your neurological damage ant. It must really be a pain in the ass to have your knee jerk so much. Also sorry that you don’t like the font size used by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

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It’s easy to argue the Russian influence operations have a nominal effect at the surface level because it’s impossible to accurately measure.  

However, with a population already ideologically divided, a nominal influence is all a bad actor like Russia needs to alter the course of world events. 

Moreover, if their tactics are so ineffective, why are they dumping so many resources into it?  I’d love to think they are blowing their money and manpower but they have a decent track record of success in Eastern Europe that goes back 10+ years. 

Edited by Hugo Stiglitz

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I think that there were plenty of people of the right leaning persuasion that would not have bothered to vote who may have gotten swayed by social media into thinking there was some nefarious force ready to destroy the universe and they got off their ass to vote because of this narrative.

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2 hours ago, Hugo Stiglitz said:

Our division is what makes our democracy most vulnerable. 

On this we agree 100%. The Russian seek to amplify the divisions that we created out of our own dysfunction. What these data also appear to suggest is that the most polarized, those that have created a social network echo chamber, have greater exposure to these attacks. Which I assume would only solidify the divisive polarization further.  While this may or may not translate into a measurable effect at the ballot box, it certainly only further erodes our social structure. 

Edited by Anastasis

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2 hours ago, Hugo Stiglitz said:

Moreover, if their tactics are so ineffective, why are they dumping so many resources into it?  I’d love to think they are blowing their money and manpower but they have a decent track record of success in Eastern Europe that goes back 10+ years. 

These operations are cheap. How many pictures of Jesus and Hillary arm wrestling can you fit inside a MiG-35?

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There is no doubt that people who work for Facebook read this board. Your company is a major part of the problem. You ok with that?

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Probably too afraid to post. Can’t blame them i suppose. They would know who you were immediately.

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On 12/6/2019 at 8:53 PM, JimmyJames said:

There’s a reason why trump met with Zuckerberg. 

 

On 12/6/2019 at 8:55 PM, JimmyJames said:

There is no doubt that people who work for Facebook read this board. Your company is a major part of the problem. You ok with that?

 

On 12/6/2019 at 8:58 PM, JimmyJames said:

Probably too afraid to post. Can’t blame them i suppose. They would know who you were immediately.

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22 hours ago, Hugo Stiglitz said:

How much do you think the Cambridge Analytica Facebook data set is worth?  

approximately two major western powers, apparently.

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Sorry I missed this; that is a very good question and I wish I could put a number to it. When you combine this information with the knowledge that they also have the voting records database from the hack I posted about on the previous page, they listed some of that data as worth about $20 million. That was credit/debit card data of around 150,000 users and the value was assigned to the fraud. So apples and oranges, but one of the co-conspirators listed in the indictment was trying to sell a database with American records of about 190 million people. I didn't read the whole indictment, so I don't know for how much it was selling and since the case was in Virginia whether it only focused on the portion of those records that belonged to citizens that resided there.

So in this case, there is a distilled version that has been groomed to focus with precision for your ad targeting. They know everything about you and with the phone tracking, wherever you go.

Crazy!

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mpu


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