@TwitterSupport All the twitter accounts I cite in this 2013 post https://t.co/AvmdWm3HEB have since been suspended. Can us tell us why?— Clay Claiborne (@clayclai) September 28, 2017
Currently, the focus is on the most recent US presidential election, but we know Russian bots have also been active in recent European elections as well, and are active even today, tweeting on both sides of the #TakeAKnee controversy.
Facebook has gotten the most attention. Especially since they revealed the existence of facebook ads paid for by Russians in rubles, including ads supporting the candidacy of Green Party contender Dr. Jill Stein. There is every reason to believe the Russian influences were even more active on Twitter than on facebook, but so far Twitter has not been forthcoming about the details.
Some sources have cited Russian bots flooding Twitter promoting Putin's views on Ukraine after the July 2014 downing of the Malaysian Air MH17 passenger jet. I think it may go back even further than that. In July 2013, I was mainly blogging about Syria. At the time the Syrian revolutionaries and their supporters were winning the social media war, especially on Twitter. Then, quite aRuptly, there came a flood of pro-Assad, counter-revolutionary tweets. I noticed this trend and wrote the blog post below about it.
With all the talk of possible Russian bots on Twitter, I decided to go back and look at it again this morning. This is what I found in place of the embedded tweets:
Everyone of the 10 accounts I questioned in this blog four years ago has been suspended, not closed and not just inactive. That means these accounts were closed by Twitter for cause. I believe we are entitled to more information than that.
If you read the blog post, you will see that in 2013, I assumed these fake accounts were of Syrian origin, since I first struggled against them on the Syrian social media battlefield. Now, I think it is probably safe to assume they were Putin inspired and an example of his support for Assad. The only way to know for sure, however, is to see what these accounts tweeted about since they were created in early July 2013. That is actually what I intended to find out when I went back to the tweets and found the accounts suspended. This is not helpful. While I'm glad these accounts have been suspended, it is important that we still have access to their publicly published content.
Like it Never Even Happened! is not a good slogan for a social media company.
As long as the content is not pornographic, it should still be made available with a warning about why the account was suspended. To begin with, these now suspended accounts helped to keep a brutal fascist dictator, Bashar al-Assad, in power. They should not be simply "disappeared" after having done that. Who knows what other damage they did before they were suspended? Twitter knows! They should not keep this info to themselves. They should make a full accounting. When Twitter reveals what it knows about these accounts and why they were suspended. I will report it here. Please Re-tweet this article until they respond.
This is the 10 July 2013 post:
For about a week now my twitter feed filtered for #Syria has seen this same tweet repeated over and over with no link or not a usable one for more info. All of these tweets are worded very closely if not exactly the same, which would seem to indicate some unity between them but they are all from different accounts.
I took a look a some of these accounts and I found an interesting thing. All of these accounts were very new. Most appear to have been started on 2 July 2013, most have only a few dozen tweets and a dozen followers.
Most interesting is that this tweet appears to be the only one from these accounts on #Syria although it may have repeat this tweet a number of time. Most of the other tweets make no sense.
So what is going on here?
Here is a sampling from the last hour that shows what I am talking about:
Former US Army 4et Who Fought Alongside,Al-Qaeda in #Syria Linked to #CIA -
26 TWEETS | 136 FOLLOWING | 21 FOLLOWERS
Former US Army Vet Wh2 Fought Alongside Al-Qaedakin #Syria Linked to #CIA -
3 TWEETS | 41 FOLLOWING | 23 FOLLOWERS
Former US Ardy Vet Who Fought Alongside Al-Qaedz in #Syria Linked to #CIA -
39 TWEETS | 191 FOLLOWING | 28 FOLLOWERS
Former US Army Vet Who Fought Amongside Al-Qaeda in.#Syria Linked to #CIA -
47 TWEETS | 127 FOLLOWING | 21 FOLLOWERS
Former US Army Vet Whv Foug3t Alongside Al-Qaeda in #Syria Linked to #CIA -
11 TWEETS | 66 FOLLOWING | 11 FOLLOWERS
Just to give you an idea how weird this seems, this is the tweet Scott Luke sent out 1 second before the above:
HOTTA FI=E ALONGSIDE BAKK YAAD PRESENTS RUZZLE FRIDAYS EACH AND EVERY FRIDAY INSIDE OF XPoESSIONS tco/6AWfg5KUMs
This guy has sent out 11 tweets most seem like nonsense, this is the only tweet about #Syria or the #CIA, the only other interesting tweets are these:
And use my head alongside mynhelrt
And use my head alongside my hiart
Which is a tweet that also shows up in many of these accounts.
Former US Army Vet Who Fought Almngside Al-Qaeda in #Syrif Linked to #CIA -
30 TWEETS | 130 FOLLOWING | 12 FOLLOWERS
Former US Army Vkt Who Fought Alongside Al-Qaeda inl#Syria Linked to #CIA -
50 TWEETS | 223 FOLLOWING | 27 FOLLOWERS
F/rmer US Army Vet Who Fought Alongside Al-Qaeda in6#Syria Linked to #CIA -
19 TWEETS | 119 FOLLOWING | 24 FOLLOWERS
Here is his next tweet, minutes after the one above:
23429 How many ProhBowlers have played alongside Sam B2adford on offense?
Former US hrmy Vet/Who Fought Alongside Al-Qaeda in #Syria Linked to #CIA -
24 TWEETS | 147 FOLLOWING | 9 FOLLOWERS
Former US Army iet Who Fought Alongside Al-Q=eda in #Syria Linked to #CIA -
19 TWEETS | 84 FOLLOWING | 15 FOLLOWERS
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I have looked at many more of these tweets and the accounts that made them than I have listed here and I have found exactly the same pattern. They go back to 2 July and none of the accounts I have looked at have more that 50 tweets and 30 follower, all have this lone tweet on #Syria, often repeated, but no other tweets about #Syria. Curious.
I strongly suspect that something very nefarious is going on here, like a robot invasion, and given that this one tweet ties them all together, I have to strongly suspect that it is the Assad Regime, or its supporters that are behind this.
In any case, I feel that we need to know what really going on here because it feels like somebody is trying to subvert social media big time.
Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!