January 25, 2018

Ari Melber interviewed Dick Costolo, former CEO of Twitter, to talk about Russia Bots and how to deal with them.

Costolo said that while it's an even playing field for social media companies to deal with spammers, people in the US who want to make money with fake accounts, it's far more difficult to deal with state actors like Russia and China whose sophistication far outweighs an individual troublemaker.

Costolo also defended Twitter's usefulness to democracy, pointing out that Black Lives Matter and hashtags like #OscarsSoWhite prove that Twitter gives voice to those without national microphones.

Members of Congress sent letters to social media outlets this week requesting that they continue to warn their users of Russia's interference on their sites, particularly in the recent hashtag #releasethememo, which appears to be a full-blown attack via Twitter from Russia. Mother Jones:

The lawmakers’ Tuesday letter comes amid widespread reports of Russia-linked bots propagating the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag.

“I’ve never seen any single hashtag that has had this amount of activity behind it,” said Bret Schafer of Hamilton 68, a German Marshall Fund-backed group dedicated to monitoring Russian influence on social media.

“If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors,” the letter, which is addressed to the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook, Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, read.

I myself have done some bot-hunting using the website botcheck.me. It's easy to find bots on conservative accounts. My experience on some conservative threads indicates that 40% of the replies are bots.

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