Twitter quietly revised its public database of ‘Russian bot’ accounts earlier this month, eradicating 228 accounts it beforehand mentioned have been “connected to Russia”— however the admission has gone nearly fully unnoticed by the media.
Bloomberg reported on the “burst of activity” from the bot accounts and claimed that Russia’s “social-media trolling operation” was “stepping up its Twitter presence to new heights.”
Fast-forward to 2019 and Twitter has eliminated 228 of those accounts from the database, saying that they had “initially misidentified” them as being linked to Russia, however no one within the media appears to have seen.
In reality, Bloomberg is the one main US outlet which bothered to correct the story to replicate actuality, admitting that Twitter’s adjustments to the dataset “invalidate central portions” of its unique report and that there was “no surge” on this so-called Russian bot exercise on the time in query. Oops!
n an announcement to Bloomberg, Roth later admitted that “definitive attribution is very, very difficult.” The Bloomberg mea culpa additionally famous that Twitter is “reluctant to discuss” the way it connects accounts to so-called trolling networks within the first place.
Some on Twitter shortly identified that the timing of the pivot to focus on Venezuelan bots was curious, given the US’ latest efforts to engineer regime change towards the federal government of Nicolas Maduro.
Journalist Sam Sacks tweeted that the brand new details about Venezuelan bots was “convenient” and mentioned that the overwhelming majority of tales written about Russian trolls and their alleged social media exercise are “based on junk research.” Sacks additionally questioned why anybody ought to think about the credibility of such flawed analyses going ahead.