21 April 2018
Ahead of GE14, ‘Russian’ bots flood Twitter with pro-BN messages
Just weeks before Malaysia goes to the polls, automated accounts known as bots are flooding Twitter with tens of thousands of pro-government and anti-opposition messages, according to a review of the tweets by Reuters and a US digital media research institute.
Asked about the matter, San Francisco-based Twitter Inc said it was focused on identifying and suspending accounts that violate its spam policies.
“We continue to fight hard to tackle any malicious automation on our platform as well as spam accounts,” it said, without giving specific details.
A source close to the matter said the company had suspended 500 accounts involved in the messages on the May 9 general election since they involved spam or malicious automation.
Twitter bots, accounts which can post, like or resend tweets automatically, are not illegal in Malaysia and seem to be having minimal impact on its election campaign. But they have come under global scrutiny amid probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections using social media platforms.
Ahmad Maslan, the information technology bureau chairman of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Umno, said he did not know who was behind the bot activity and that it was not his team.
The government’s communications and multimedia minister Salleh Said Keruak did not respond to calls or text messages seeking comment.
A researcher at the Digital Forensic Research (DFR) Lab of the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank said over 17,000 bots tweeted content related to the Malaysian election over the last week.
Nine of the top 10 most active bot accounts containing anti-opposition hashtags and pro-government messages had Russian-sounding names and used the Cyrillic script, said Donara Barojan, a research associate at DFR.
“The prevalence of bots with Cyrillic screen names does not suggest that Russian social media users are meddling in the Malaysian elections, but does indicate that whoever is behind the campaign purchased some bots created by Russian-speaking bot herders,” she said.
Reuters was unable to establish where the tweets originated or which firm or individual may be behind the bot accounts.
18 April 2018
The Bots come from Russia, India and even Arabia..
17 April 2018
esKahn™ Retweeted Ирина Иванова
Jib: here’s RM50mil for premium Russian bots
Umno warlord: ok, boss!
Umno warlord: here’s RM10mil for premium Russian bots
Kartun the goon-trooper: ok, boss!
Kartun: here’s RM1mil for ur best Russian bots Vlad: ok, comrade!
Ирина Иванова Retweeted PRU14@K L
Evidence of involvement of unintelligent Russian bots in Malaysian elections..
Lenguh tangan aku Retweeted Ирина Иванова
pantek malaysia pun pakai russian bot ke cyal?!
Lenguh tangan aku added,