Israeli tech researchers uncover a pro-Trump bot network attacking political opponents
The network is reportedly designed to create support ahead of the next U.S. election cycle
A network of bots has been praising former U.S. President Donald Trump and attacking his political opponents ahead of the election cycle.
The large network of as many as 100,000 fake Twitter accounts is actually composed three different networks. The bot accounts were created in three cycles in the months of April, October and November 2022.
Israeli tech firm Cyabra, a “social threat intelligence company,” discovered the bot network and reported it to the Associated Press.
Cyabra did not identify who created the bot accounts, but claimed they were most likely created in the United States.
Twitter has estimated that about 5% of its active daily accounts are bots. However, Cyabra researchers said when they examined negative comments about Trump critics, they noticed a higher level of fake accounts involved. In addition, the researchers estimate that about 75% of negative comments about U.S. presidential candidate Nikki Haley could be traced back to fake accounts.
The bots also tweeted suggestions that Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, couldn’t beat Trump in an election but would make a good running mate.
The networks create the impression that Trump has amassed a large support bloc.
“Our understanding of what is mainstream Republican sentiment for 2024 is being manipulated by the prevalence of bots online,” the Cyabra researchers concluded.
Jules Gross, the Cyabra engineer who first discovered the network, said, “Those voices are not people. For the sake of democracy I want people to know this is happening.”
Gross discovered the network while analyzing tweets about different political figures, when he noticed that the content being posted was from new accounts created on the same day.
Researchers say the bots are not intended to convince people, but to amplify content so that it reaches a broader audience.
Bots are successful due to algorithms that analyze “tweet” content to recognize trends. By artificially inflating the amount of various kinds of content, they create the impression of a genuine trend.
In this case, they can create the impression that Trump is more popular with Republicans than he is.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.