Conspirador Norteño Profile picture
Apr 8, 2018 19 tweets 16 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Immediately following the chemical attack in #Douma, Syria, the usual suspects are lining up to push the theory that it was a false flag.
This isn't the only time in the last couple of months we've seen "false flag" theories pushed in the wake of a chemical attack. In one case, the prime suspect is Assad's government, a Russian ally, and in the other the Russian government itself.
We downloaded recent tweets containing the hashtag #FalseFlag; the majority are related to the attack in Syria. 1744 of 1950 (89%) of the accounts involved also have #Novichok tweets on their timelines.
Retweet network for recent #FalseFlag tweets. Propaganda account @Ian56789 once again shows up as a major node, which is unsurprising as he seems to be unable to resist pushing false flag theories about pretty much everything.
(Some examples of @Ian56789's tweets and a link to an earlier analysis of the account).
The accounts involved in the recent #FalseFlag trend also have a history of tweeting conspiracy theory hashtags. 1796 of 1950 (92%) have tweeted at least one of #FollowTheWhiteRabbit, #QAnon, #Pizzagate, #SethRich, #SpiritCooking, and #SyriaHoax.
Here are the same plots for #Douma. The network here splits into a larger portion that presents the view that Assad's government is responsible, and a smaller section (bottom) pushing false flag theories (and the Kremlin's view on world issues in general).
The most prominent account in the "false flag" section is @PartisanGirl, the verified account of a writer for both Infowars and New Eastern Outlook (a production of the Russian Academy of Sciences).
This isn't the first time @PartisanGirl has turned up, btw. Her previous contributions to Twitter discourse include dubious claims about the Kurdish YPG training "antifa" to commit terrorist attacks.
I updated this dataset today: 38514 tweets from 19939 users. This chart shows the volume over time, although there may be a better visualization of the traffic available. . .
Brief thread containing a couple of animated visualizations of the #FalseFlag traffic.
What media sources are being linked in tweets claiming the Douma chemical attack was a #FalseFlag? Let's check and compare with a similar volume of tweets for #SyriaStrikes, which should capture a more general set of Twitter traffic related to Syria.
Top media sources linked from #FalseFlag tweets, with a similar volume of #SyriaStrikes tweets as a control. Two differences between the sets jump out:

1) Fringe sites replace CNN/UK media in #FalseFlag set
2) Greater proportion of Kremlin-controlled media in #FalseFlag set
Here are the 15 articles most frequently linked from #FalseFlag tweets since the recent chemical attack in Syria. Did the media websites posting this material experience a corresponding increase in Twitter traffic linking to them?
The answer appears to be yes - seven of the media websites linked from #FalseFlag tweets (responsible for 56% of the links) experienced an observable jump in links from Twitter within 48 hours of the attack.
Not surprisingly, the more obscure sites show a more extreme spike, but even some better-known sites like Zero Hedge and Gateway Pundit received a sizable infusion of Twitter traffic correlated to the recent #FalseFlag trend.
Looking at the retweet networks for several of these websites, we see some frequent fliers. @Ian56789 never met a website with articles about #FalseFlag theories that he didn't embrace with vigor, apparently.
Of course, not every Twitter user tweeting #FalseFlag theories and linking to dubious news sites is a major propaganda account. What does the social media experience of the average person who's prone to believing/propagating false flag conspiracies look like?
Baby step toward an answer - this diagram is a guess as to accounts #FalseFlag users frequently see on their timelines. It's built from 60K recent tweets linking the sites linked in #FalseFlag tweets, sampled proportionately to the frequency each occur in the #FalseFlag dataset.

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More from @conspirator0

Oct 9, 2018
Honey Pot Bots
Meet @ShawneeDeaver. This account's first tweet - and only non-reply tweet - is 2scEY0T, an apparently random 7-character alphanumeric code. The rest of the tweets are replies sent within hours of its creation; the collage is representative. (Thanks @OlgaNYC1211 for the lead).
We decided to look for more accounts like it. We started by harvesting the recent replies to the accounts that @ShawneeDeaver replied to, and filtering the results to accounts with a 7-character code as their first tweet and all subsequent tweets being quickly-launched replies.
Read 9 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
Let's take an updated look at the traffic related to Russia Insider, a Russian news site featuring sections such as "Western Collapse", "The Jewish Question", "Free Assange", "Russiahoax", and "EU Conservative Uprising".
(previous Russia Insider thread in which failed Congressional Candidate Paul Nehlen featured prominently)
We downloaded the last ten days worth of tweets linking to russia-insider(dot)com, resulting in 5357 tweets from 2779 accounts.
Read 13 tweets
Oct 6, 2018
While looking for streams of the Kavanaugh confirmation cloture vote yesterday, we stumbled on @Seekandfind, an account that linked Russia Today's stream. Spoiler alert - this account is (at least presently) a bot with signs of some human interjections.
This account is extremely high-volume (900+ tweets per day at present) and uses a massive cornucopia of different automation tools to tweet (mostly Microsoft PowerApps, Buffer, Integromat, IFTTT, and Zapier).
What does @Seekandfind tweet about? 37.1% of tweets contain one or more of the keywords shown in this chart - the Trump, Hillary Clinton, MSM/fake news, and deep state categories being the most prominent.
Read 10 tweets
Oct 5, 2018
On October 2nd, the news came out that envelopes containing suspected ricin had been mailed to the Pentagon and the White House. We downloaded tweets containing the word "ricin" a few hours after the news broke, resulting in 45007 tweets from 29308 accounts.
Here's the retweet network for "ricin" on 2018-10-02. It consists almost entirely of right wing accounts, most of which are speculating that the ricin mailing was left-wing terrorism.
We tested a sample of 10000 of the accounts with ricin tweets for automation (based on either 24/7 activity or 90%+ of tweets being posted via automation services/custom apps). 817 (8.2%) were flagged as bots. Let's look at a few of them.
Read 12 tweets
Oct 4, 2018
Yesterday (2018-10-02), four members of the white supremacist group known as the "Rise Above Movement" were arrested by the feds for their part in the violence at the #UniteTheRight rally in Charlottesville in August 2018. Let's take a look at related Twitter traffic.
(previous thread on the Twitter activity surrounding the #UniteTheRight hashtag leading up to and during the rally last year.)
We downloaded tweets containing "Charlottesville" and "arrests", resulting in 15082 tweets from 12331 accounts beginning with the first report of the arrests (from @HenryGraff).
Read 13 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
How does one go about detecting Twitter bots (automated accounts)? Let's take a look at three different tests for detecting signs of automation, and try them on three different sample sets of accounts.
The first two tests may be familiar from previous threads:

1. 24/7 tweet activity - this could point to multiple human operators, but is usually the result of automation/tweet scheduling.
2. Use of automation services such as IFTTT or custom apps built with the Twitter API.
The tweet schedule plots shown in the previous tweet can be used to visually perform both these tests. You can generate them yourself for accounts of interest here:
Read 9 tweets

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