Trolling The Clintons

How a recent tweet from Chelsea Clinton shines light on Twitter’s massive problems

Image for post
Image for post
Screenshot was captured March 13th, 2020

Meet Jacky

If it weren’t for Chelsea Clinton’s tweet, I would have never encountered Jacky (@JackyVegas1).

Jacky’s profile— like many other patriotic Twitter accounts —is heavy on flags and loaded with hashtags (#DrainTheSwamp):

Image for post
Image for post
Screenshot was captured March 13th, 2020

The original tweet from @JackyVegas1 (amplified 8 hours later by Chelsea Clinton) no longer exists:

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Screenshots were captured March 15th, 2020

Had it not been for Chelsea Clinton’s decision to call attention to the “ugliness on this platform” [Twitter], chances are Twitter would have never removed Jacky’s tweet (full image from the tweet may be seen below):

Image for post
Image for post
Screenshot was captured March 13th, 2020

Slap On The Wrist

Twitter’s action (removing the tweet from @JackyVegas1) is driven by nothing more than PR.

The reality is the account violates (several) Twitter Rules. It should have been suspended long ago, prior to making its way onto Chelsea Clinton’s radar — after all, Twitter endlessly touts (what they view as) their proactive approach to dealing with such issues.

While analyzing accounts connected to Jacky — and with minimal effort— Social Forensics was able to surface thousands of inauthentic accounts that similarly violate Twitter Rules.

In aggregate, said accounts have generated more than 100 million tweets.

Recent Followers Growth

Of the 7,495 accounts being followed by @JackyVegas1 (i.e. Following), 83% of accounts (6,181) are also following @JackyVegas1 (i.e. Followers).

Of the 6,821 accounts following @JackyVegas1 (i.e. Followers), 91% of accounts (6,181) are also being followed by @JackyVegas1 (i.e. Following).

The first and second accounts to follow @JackyVegas1 were @AmreshK32532788 and @IdaSmit39476985, respectively:

Image for post
Image for post
Screenshot was captured March 15th, 2020

The @IdaSmit39476985 account (second account to follow @JackyVegas1) was created in September 2019 (September 10th, 2019):

Image for post
Image for post
Screenshot was captured March 15th, 2020

The @JackyVegas1 account was created in September 2017 (September 13th, 2017):

Image for post
Image for post

Translated: Jacky has picked up 6,820 (of the account’s 6,821) Followers within the past 6 months (on or after September 10th, 2019), despite the account being created 2.5 years ago

Follow-For-Follow

As was just illustrated, it would be fair to categorize @JackyVegas1 as a follow-for-follow account. The same may be said about the vast majority of accounts that are Followers of Jacky, in fact.

More specifically, follow-for-follow accounts are generally Following a similar number of accounts as they have as Followers. Moreover, follow-for-follow accounts will be Following a large percentage of the accounts that comprise their Followers. Jacky, as we saw earlier for example, is Following 91% (6,181 accounts) of the accounts that comprise their Followers.

Here’s a summary of Followers counts for the 6,821 accounts that follow @JackyVegas1:

Image for post
Image for post
Data collected March 13th, 2020; ratio = Following/Followers

There are 16 accounts, for example, that follow @JackyVegas1 which have between 90,000 and 99,999 Followers. Meanwhile, there are 1,045 accounts that follow @JackyVegas1 which have between 10,000 and 19,999 Followers.

The 16 accounts (with Followers between 90,000 and 99,999), on average, reflect having Following counts that are 85% of Followers counts (ratio = Following/Followers; avg ratio = .85).

The 1,045 accounts (with Followers between 10,000 and 19,999), on average, reflect having Following counts that are the same as Followers counts (avg ratio = 1.00).

It is worth noting that Twitter Rules prohibit “aggressive following”:

Image for post
Image for post

Hyperactive Activity

The @JackyVegas1 account has not tweeted since March 14th, 2020 (at 8:53a GMT).

Prior to this period of inactivity, the account was tweeting hundreds of times per day:

Image for post
Image for post

Jacky enjoys retweeting their own tweets a great deal, having done so 365 times between March 5th and March 14th. The account tweeted 3,450 times over that same period, of which, 2,894 (84%) were retweets.

Here are 114 accounts that were recently retweeted at least 4 times by @JackyVegas1 (note: Jacky retweeted more than 1,500 unique accounts.. in just 10 days!):

Image for post
Image for post
Accounts that *are not* anonymous have yellow backgrounds

Generally speaking, authentic Twitter accounts tend to amplify (retweet) minimal content from inauthentic Twitter accounts.

Jacky, on the other hand, seems driven to retweet every anonymous patriot account that exists (examples include: @HL356876250, @christi95148235, @4aFreeUSA, @PennyRipples, @DHvpwNI0ZIpntY0, @SDcommiefornia, @Desiree76636838, @JavierL4USA, @KnowsSuggests, @restore_US_now).

Jacky’s Followers include 754 accounts that have, on average, tweeted at least 100 times per day since being created (full list here).

Jacky’s Followers include 802 accounts that have, on average, liked at least 100 tweets per day since being created (full list here).

Jacky’s Followers include 476 accounts that have, on average, tweeted at least 100 times per day AND liked at least 100 tweets per day since being created (full list here).

The 476 accounts, in aggregate, have generated more than 65 million tweets.

OK, So What’s Your Point?

Last week, Twitter announced the removal of “71 accounts originating in Ghana and Nigeria which [they] can associate with Russia”:

Image for post
Image for post
Tweet from Yoel Roth, Twitter’s Head of Site Integrity

On the one hand, it’s certainly great to see Twitter enforce their rules.

On the other hand, it’s disappointing to see Twitter continually place more resources towards publicizing inconsequential efforts/results (i.e. the removal of 71 accounts, in this case) than towards meaningfully mitigating against the wide-ranging information pollution issues that plague the platform globally (particularly across non-English languages).

Twitter (and the media’s) obsession with “Russian bots”, unfortunately, is nothing more than a distraction from Twitter’s core issues — which extend far beyond bots and Russian interference.

Geoff Golberg is an NYC-based researcher (and entrepreneur) who is fascinated by graph visualization/network analysis — more specifically, when applied to social networks and blockchain activity. His experience spans structured finance, ad tech, and digital marketing/customer acquisition, both at startups and public companies.

Geoff is the Founder/CEO/Janitor of Social Forensics, where he spends (far too much of) his time developing techniques and building tools to identify social media manipulation (of various flavors!).

Geoff’s Twitter account was mass reported by nefarious actors who sought to silence his voice, resulting in the automated suspension of his Twitter account in July 2019.

Geoff recently (March 3rd, 2020) filed a lawsuit against Twitter for banning his Twitter account in bad faith—and he strives to prevent Twitter from unlawfully cancelling the accounts of other New York residents in the absence of cause.

Written by

CEO & Founder, Social Forensics | Previously: Co-Founder, Elementus | Featured in BBC, CNN, BuzzFeed, and Quartz, among others | SocialForensics.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store