Researchers from Clemson University have found out that malicious videos about racial discrimination promoted on social media were done through fake accounts. These inauthentic accounts which have since been removed by Twitter were found be linked to Russian efforts to escalate racial issues in United States. These videos were promoted with nicknames like Basketball Becky and Taco Truck Tammy and these suspicious accounts retweeted these inflammatory videos before they were picked up by others and shared.
Professors Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren from Clemson identified 30 Twitter accounts that were involved in this suspicious activity and they sent out more than 300 tweets that contained videos of racially inciting incidents. They explained how through these social media accounts the instigators were trying to spread racial violence and mayhem. Earlier to these strategies have been used and fake news were shared to invoke racial tensions.
These accounts use a strategy called “doxxing” in which disturbing videos are posted or tweeted again and again by recreating the content as instances of explicit discrimination. The content used inciting language urging the receivers with calls to action that encouraged them to publish the personal information of the participants. A fake account called @ BLK_Hermione used this method in 2018 and was suspended for manipulation. It used to encourage people to keep on tweeting videos until someone found the actual person doing it and also her contact number that helped to block the account. The coordinated activity of this type began during 2018 and peaked up till midterm elections. Three of the accounts identified by researchers were removed by Twitter in 2018 and again this year for being part of Russia linked disinformation operation. The accounts were identified as Russian on the basis of forensic analysis. The researchers did not pass any judgment on the videos that were used by these accounts.
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