Ben Nimmo Profile picture
Writer, linguist, diver. Global Threat Intel Lead @Meta. Investigating, analysing and exposing influence ops. RT ≠ endorsement.

Jun 28, 2018, 14 tweets

#Electionwatch thread: The funny thing about Mexico's "King of fake news" is that most of his likes come from India and Brazil.

King of fake news, or just fake king?…

"Victory Lab" claims to be a fake-news titan in Mexico. Its founder, Carlos Merlo, says that people like him got Trump elected.

The first odd thing about the Victory Lab FB page: how come the top two recommendations are to users in India?

The second odd thing: this post got 3,500 likes, and no other reactions at all.

Facebook introduced varied reactions in 2016, guys.

And look at this. These don't look very like Hispanic names on the likes.

Victory Lab, fake-news titan, seems to be buying its likes from an Indian like-farm.

Other posts got tons of Brazilian likes.

From accounts with profile pictures that were taken straight off the internet.

Victory Lab isn't very active on Twitter, but a couple of posts got hundreds of retweets.

Including this one. 273 retweets, of which 269 were protected. That's a ratio I've only ever seen in botnets before.

Here's one of the visible accounts. Russian-language profile, multi-language posts.

Definitely a bot, but it looks like a commercial one, hired in for the occasion.

Victory Lab apparently needs to rent bots to do its own advertising.

There's a pattern here: Indian and Brazilian likes on FB, bots on Twitter.

Now look at this post, from a Mexican FB page attacking front-runner Lopez Obrador.

Same pattern.

Different page, same pattern again.

Not a smoking gun, but definitely not Mexican.

These FB pages used the same hashtags, including AMLOcuras.

Look at the traffic on that hashtag on Twitter the same day.

Look at the number of posts compared with the number of users. Botlike.

Most of the accounts have been suspended, but this one was left. Compare the profile picture to the book.


Follow the hashtag and here's yet another page, where it features in the comments.

Same hashtag. Same pattern of foreign likes.

Looks like it's the same network again.

Conclusion: Victory Lab certainly gets its own likes and bots from abroad. These political pages and hashtags do too.

That's unlikely to be a coincidence.

Looks like Victory Lab is outsourcing fake amplification, and claiming it as its own work. /

Thread ends.

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