Russians Used Fake Twitter Accounts To Stoke Racial Tensions In U.S., Promoted Doxxing

Russians Used Fake Twitter Accounts To Stoke Racial Tensions In U.S., Promoted Doxxing

Russian interference is alive and well. And, once again Russian hackers are using the Black community to stir up chaos.

According to Clemson University researchers, recent videos of confrontations between white people and minorities received a social media push from inauthentic accounts.

“The Russia-linked accounts adopted fake Black personas, from phony profile photos to style of speech, to infiltrate an existing organic online movement that calls out and shames acts of alleged racial prejudice,” TK reported.

And the ruse worked. Tweets by the suspicious accounts caused 50-90 percent of the initial retweets before the stories went viral. The Russians were practicing “doxing,” the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifying information about an individual or organization. 

There were several incidents of Doxing.

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Remember the 2018 cellphone video of a white, Brooklyn woman calling 911 to complain about a 9-year-old Black boy grabbed her rear? That woman came to be called “Cornerstore Caroline.” Other people in similar videos also got catchy nicknames, such as “Basketball Becky” or “Taco Truck Tammy.”

The Clemson study found those “videos received instrumental early social media promotion from inauthentic accounts, some of which have since been removed by Twitter and linked by U.S. intelligence to Russia’s efforts to stoke racial tensions in America,” NBC News reported.

There were more than 300 tweets from almost 30 suspicious Twitter accounts that seem to seek and promote videos of racially tense incidents, according to Darren Linvill, an associate professor of communications, and Patrick Warren, an associate professor of economics.

Twitter did take down some of these fake accounts reported by the researchers for platform manipulation. Among the removed accounts were: @JEMISHAAAZZZ, @KANIJJACKSON, @BLK_Hermione, and @QuartneyChante.

These stories that the accounts focused on followed a pattern: a video uploaded online showing a white person calling or threatening to call the authorities on a minority. The objects of the outrage were often given alliterative nicknames, on the lines of “Taco Truck Tammy” or “Basketball Becky.”

These fake account use social media to promote videos showing racial confrontations and encourage online outrage.

Take “Cornerstore Caroline.” The video had at least 18 million views and created a firestorm of social media outrage.