The Online Profile of a Russian Troll

Buzzfeed published an article in the summer of 2014 that provided a lot of useful information about the Russian effort to use Internet trolls to influence the political process in foreign countries.  Much of this information can be used to identify and monitor the behavior of state-sponsored trolls.

For example, language appears to be an issue with Russian trolls.

Despite efforts to hire English teachers for the trolls, most of the comments are written in barely coherent English. “I think the whole world is realizing what will be with Ukraine, and only U.S. keep on fuck around because of their great plans are doomed to failure,” reads one post from an unnamed forum, used as an example in the leaked documents.

Russian trolls also tend to appear as what they call “dead souls.”

Russian-language social networks are awash with accounts that lack the signs of real users, such as pictures, regular posting, or personal statements. These “dead souls,” as Vasily Gatov, a prominent Russian media analyst who blogs at Postjournalist, calls them, often surface to attack opposition figures or journalists who write articles critical of Putin’s government.

The comments made by Russian trolls also tend to be puerile and the documents they provide are done on the cheap.

The puerility of many of the comments recalls the pioneering trolling of now-defunct
Kremlin youth group Nashi, whose leaders extensively discussed commenting on Russian opposition websites in emails leaked by hackers in 2012. putin-trollsAnalysts say Timur Prokopenko, former head of rival pro-Putin youth group Young Guard, now runs internet projects in the presidential administration.

“These docs are written in the same style and keep the same quality level,” said Alexei Sidorenko, a Poland-based Russian developer and net freedom activist. “They’re sketchy, incomplete, done really fast, have tables, copy-pastes — it’s the standard of a regular student’s work from Russian university.”

The European Union’s East StratCom Task Force provides some additional characteristics that can be used in the video below.

Also see, Russian troll farms behind campaign to topple Ukraine’s government, Stop

Invasion of the troll armies: from Russian Trump supporters to Turkish state stooges, The Guardian.  This article provides information on trolls from different countries.

Kremlin trolls exposed: Russia’s information war against Ukraine,

Categories: Russia

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