Why is it so hard to tell about porn spam from Chinese government bots?

However, this spam content may have nothing to do with the Chinese government., by A report released Monday by the Stanford Internet Observatory. “Although spam suppresses legitimate protest-related content, there is no evidence that it was designed for it or that it was a deliberate effort by the Chinese government,” wrote the report’s author, David Thiel.

Instead, it was probably the usual commercial spambots that plagued Twitter forever. These special accounts are there to attract the attention of Chinese users who break into foreign networks to access porn.

Like this “significant increase“Was spam just a coincidence? Short answer: very likely. There are two main reasons Thiel thinks the bots are not related to the Chinese government.

Before anything else, these accounts have been sending spam for a long time. And they tweeted even more and more consistently, previous Protests erupted, according to a data analysis of the activities of more than 600,000 accounts between November 15-29.

Check out these two charts (for reference, the protests peaked around November 27):

A line chart showing increased spam tweets between November 29 and December 4.  Above the graph it says that this is an analysis of a total of 6,088,596 tweets.

just so to feel as if spam activity increased during the protests? This chart actually shows that many more bot accounts were created in November:

A bar chart showing that the number of spam accounts created in November greatly outstripped accounts created in the past months.

However, Thiel emphasizes that content moderation takes time. People tend to ignore the so-called “survival bias” effect: old spam content and accounts are constantly being removed from the platform, but researchers have no data on suspended accounts. So a chart like this only shows these accounts: survived Twitter’s spam filters. That’s why the November spike looks so huge: These are new accounts created to replace their most recently deceased peers, and they’re still standing – but not all of them will survive, so if we were to revisit this graph, they wouldn’t be there. a few months. In other words, if you did a data analysis right after the protests, you would definitely to appear he is This type of spam has only just begun. But this is not necessarily true.

latter, If the purpose of spam accounts was to bury information about protests, they did a pretty bad job.. While the escort ad spam featured many Chinese city names as keywords and hashtags, Thiel realized that they weren’t targeting hashtags that were actually used to discuss protests, such as #A4Revolution or #ChinaProtest2022. Jump in if they are trying to silence something,” she tells me. Of the nearly 30,000 tweets he analyzed containing these more influential hashtags, “there’s no spam to talk about.”

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