Clemson University faculty measure the impact of underreported activity of Russian political Twitter trolls.
Faculty members Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren were on the team that did the studying.
Linvill told South Carolina Radio Network it took them eight months to go through all of the identified tweets. “We have been downloading data from Russian Internet research agency trolls. Those were handles that were identified by Twitter.”
Linvill said that everything was not just about the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “In the data set, we downloaded we have far more tweets in the year following the 2016 election than in the year prior to the U.S. election.”
Twitter has not supplied much detail regarding the scope of social media attacks coming from Russia, only giving specific numbers from the weeks prior to the election.
Linvill also took the time to examine every account one by one to verify suspicious activity, and in the process has helped people falsely accused of being trolls clear their names with Twitter.
Linvill said one became very clear while studying the tweets. “This is an ongoing effort by the Russian government.”
Linvill and Warren view this work as ongoing and they don’t think the trolls are going to stop any time soon. According to Warren, their efforts thus far have been wildly successful.