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Kate Starbird
Recently, our lab published a paper “frame contests” within the and conversations on Twitter in 2016. Not surprisingly, those conversations often had a very divisive tone. [thread]
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @katestarbird
For that work, we created a shared audience graph that demonstrated the underlying structure of those frame contests—and clearly demonstrated two “sides” of the political conversation. Echo chambers.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @katestarbird
When Twitter released the 1st batch of accounts related to the RU-IRA troll factories, we cross-referenced those with our & data and… some of the most active & most influential accounts ON BOTH SIDES were RU-IRA trolls.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @katestarbird
Here’s a similar graph, made from a slightly different network property (RTs rather than shared audience) that shows retweets of RU-IRA trolls (in orange). U.S. political left on the left, political right on the right.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @katestarbird
In other words, there are paid trolls sitting side by side somewhere in St. Petersburg hate-quoting each other’s troll account, helping to shape divisive attitudes in the U.S. among actual Americans who think of the other side as a caricature of itself.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @katestarbird
Twitter has an opportunity to help people understand what is happening to us - not just to the “other side” - but to our side/ourselves. To help us become aware of HOW we’re being manipulated. Just telling us we’ve interacted w/ one of these accounts misses the opportunity.
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Gina Jan 20
Replying to @katestarbird
Excellent information that needs brought to the attention of more Americans. Especially young users of social media who don’t understand how they are being manipulated.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @Gigi_MCal
I’d add ‘all ages’ here. I think this is a K-99 issue (not just K-12 or undergrad). Many of the trolls are dressed up as grandmothers, veterans, suburban moms, etc. They aren’t just targeting young people... older folks are just as, if not more, vulnerable.
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STEAMED HAM, PH.D. Jan 20
This is a very dangerous way to frame things, I think, because it's likely to encourage more paranoia & reprisals against leftist activists over right-wing activists.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
I agree to some extent. This kind of disinfo strategy works on multiple levels & can delegitimizate authentic protest. This was tough for our researchers. We wanted to see orange all on one side... but that’s not how they work. They target communities on both/all political sides.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @joanarensman
To some extent, yes. We haven’t unraveled the extent of how the trolls played into this, but the accounts (all, not just RU) on the right were all lined up with Trump, and accounts on the left were split across Hillary supporters, Bernie supporters, NeverHillary folks, etc.
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Deena Heg Jan 20
Replying to @katestarbird
Kate, you are doing such critically important work. Have you talked to the Seattle Times about this lately? Wonder if they would do a major story on this. I know Westneat did a column last spring, but MAJOR story?
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @bikesalsa
To be honest, I wanted to put this out there in my words first, for fear of being mis-translated, intentionally and otherwise. This is such a controversial topic and our findings can be manipulated by people to fit into some very destructive narratives.
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Dan Kaminsky Jan 20
Replying to @katestarbird
Professional, non-rhetorical question: What came first, the hate-quoting troll bots, or the hate-quoting troll humans? More specifically, do human networks of opinionated attackers (brigaders) look similar or different?
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Lt. Chris McDaniel, Space Force Jan 20
Unless, the point of the article is that it’s a bigger problem on the Left, which is what I said.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Replying to @dakami
I think they are mutually shaping… learning “social norms” from each other as they intentionally (in the case of the trolls) and unintentionally mimic the others’ behavior.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
This data was collected with BLM hashtags, so the data leans left. I can show you other graphs on other topics, showing trolls in fringe right prepper communities and alt-right Trumper communities. They are working to sew division from all sides.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
Point is Russian disinfo infiltrates communities and conversations on all sides. And that instead of thinking about how it affects other people, we should think about how each of us is being affected/manipulated.
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Lt. Chris McDaniel, Space Force Jan 20
“They are working to sew division from all sides.” Obviously. Is that the message you’ve heard from the media over the last year? Because all I’ve heard is that Trump colluded with and was elected due to Russian bots helping the Right.
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Kate Starbird Jan 20
The troll data seems to suggest that the IRA-RU trolls boosted Trump and worked to divide the left. Both worked in favor of Trump’s winning the general election. I don’t need the media to tell me this, I have the data.
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