Trolling The Clintons
How a recent tweet from Chelsea Clinton shines light on Twitter’s massive problems
Jacky’s profile— like many other patriotic Twitter accounts —is heavy on flags and loaded with hashtags (#DrainTheSwamp):
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):
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
The @JackyVegas1 account was created in September 2017 (September 13th, 2017):
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
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:
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”:
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:
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!):
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”:
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.