Trolls Factories: Spreading misinformation and fake news

Hi, I’m Chris.

I’m here to help you through every step of your PRVCY journey.

Wether you’re already taking the PRVCY online courses or a new subscriber, I’ll post constant news and information based on our research to help you taking back control of you PRVCY!

State-sponsored actors and malicious entities exploit our digital world to infiltrate political systems and target individuals who challenge the status quo or even to find out what another nations are planning in terms of public and economical policies. In Europe, numerous cases of cybersurveillance against political activists have come to light, revealing the severity of this issue.

Internet trolls, are part of those elusive figures lurking in the cyber surveillance shadows, that have the power to disrupt, manipulate, and deceive. Trolls are taking their game to the next level by working with governments and buying subscribers and followers? Notably, this information operation is specifically aimed at influential international politicians and prominent media outlets.

Though state-sponsored trolling occurs in a variety of countries, they often use similar strategies.
Trolls can attempt to achieve five goals by engaging with participants of social media conversations: to project strength, to project popularity, to imitate anti-government extremism, to promote pro-government agenda, and to distract opposition activists.

These include making death and rape threats, using bots to amplify attacks at scale, using malicious PR firms to disseminate hyper-partisan or libelous disinformation about targets, and spreading doctored images and memes.

What sets this operation apart is its strategic approach, employing innovative tactics such as commenting behaviors, utilization of VPNs, and intentional amplification of ‘organic’ content that aligns with the government’s stance. These methods enable the operation to evade detection and interception by social media platforms, further complicating efforts to counteract their influence.

Using online blogs and forums, like this one you can access information unavailable in state controlled newspapers or on TV, you can can also find like-minded individuals and coordinate amongst yourself protection strategies. To combat the danger of free thinking, governments introduce various forms of media control. These include exerting pressure on owners of social media platforms, banning websites, censoring content, and employing paid commentators to interfere with online conversations that espouse pro-government views and challenge the narrative of the political opposition.

The troll tactics employed by these individuals exhibit a calculated approach to manipulate online discourse. Subscribers are encouraged to target the social media profiles of opponents and critics of the social norm, including influential politicians and world leaders, inundating them with pro-governments comments. Furthermore, they are instructed to activate VPNs and flood the comments sections of specific links on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and Telegram.

Rather than creating original content themselves, the focus lies on posting comments, a strategy aimed at reducing the risk of detection by social media platforms for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior or spreading harmful content.

These trolls also employ a strategic approach of identifying “organic content” posted by genuine users that aligns with their desired narrative. By amplifying these messages, they distort such views to appear as the prevailing norm. As long as the content they post remains within certain boundaries of offensiveness, they are less likely to face interventions leading to de-platforming. These tactics reveal a calculated effort to manipulate online discussions while evading potential consequences.

El Salvador

In 2022, Reuters conducted an investigation that shed light on a concerning development in El Salvador’s political landscape. It was uncovered that the government had enlisted the services of tech-savvy influencers to shape public opinion through covert means. Reuters had the opportunity to interview three former contractors who disclosed their involvement in secretive “troll farms” responsible for manipulating the country’s political discourse.

One of the contractors, a communications specialist, revealed that a significant aspect of their role was to fabricate a following of fictitious supporters for President Bukele on social media. These fabricated accounts would then be used to express admiration for Bukele’s policies. Conversely, the contractors were also tasked with demeaning the president’s critics and lodging complaints against their posts on various platforms, with the ultimate goal of having their accounts suspended or shut down. This revelation raises concerns about the manipulation of public opinion and the potential impact on the democratic process in El Salvador.

United Kingdom

An expert research funded by the United Kingdom, shedding light on the Russian’s employment of a troll factory to disseminate falsehoods across social media platforms and popular websites. These cyber soldiers operate with ruthless precision, targeting not only politicians but also audiences in various countries, including the UK, South Africa, and India.

The UK has also created a Government Information Cell (GIC) to counter Russian disinformation. Made up of experts from across the UK Government, the Cell is focussed on identifying and assessing Russian disinformation and both advising on and delivering output to expose and challenge the Kremlin’s lies.

But creating fake attacks in aim to blame your enemy is part of an old war strategy, so as part of our daily routine we can go and check mainstream media blaming China, Russia and North Korea for Cyber attacks, where in fact there was a leaked of information from a internal source of the same governmental institutions.

In 2023, the US goverment blame China for any attack regarding a US public institution, also, banned Chinese technology companies from the country. That gives the US government to blame any mistake or the deletion of important data to an public enemy: China.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes China has been targeting US since years ago. Already in 2010 the U.S. Department of Defense found thousands of its computer servers sending military network data to China—the result of code hidden in chips that handled the machines’ startup process. But that doesn’t mean that China is interested in the academic record of thousands of students in Calabasas Junior High School, and hack the school, as the government of California declared to cover the fact that they never cared about data protection.

Anyway, China is regarded, along with the United States and Russia, as a leader in the development of computer hacking for military use. Security consultants say its military also supports hobbyist hacking clubs that might work for outsiders, also know to hired teams of trolls to propagate government information. Since the problem of political control is one of the most important issues faced by political leaders, and social media have the unbridled potential to empower anti-regime movements.


Example of this was happening in Germany last year, where false emergency calls claiming alternately to be from Islamist Hamas fighters or militant Israelis, have targeted diverse institutions, like the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Algerian Embassy, and the Palestinian Mission in Berlin.

The perpetrators are said to have deliberately made in order to trigger police or fire department operations. This behavior is known as “swatting”. The bomb threats have led to evacuations of schools and other facilities and caused great fear among the population. Yet, the Berlin police have identified these acts as the handiwork of internet trolls, initiating investigations for disturbing public peace by threatening to commit crimes, who knows?

The role of social media in political discussion has become indispensable because their use has dramatically reduced the costs of communication and helped citizens who support opposition and alternative media. Enhancing informational exchange that provides hope against the status quo
and helps citizens learn about the successes and failures of public policies and so evaluate government competence. This is why, governments want to distract us from discussing the failures of government policies, the organization of civic activities or choose a leader who can efficiently compete with the current incumbent.

As regular people, we need to remember that trolls also have the potential to harm individuals psychologically. Their actions can lead to cyberbullying, harassment, and the spread of false information. Victims of trolling may experience emotional distress, anxiety, and even depression as a result of the relentless attacks and insults.

Furthermore, trolls can negatively affect the overall dynamics of online communities. Their disruptive behavior can discourage participation, silence voices, and create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. This can lead to self-censorship and limit the diversity of ideas and perspectives shared within the community.

So anytime you identify a troll in a online community don’t hesitate to report it. Also with the PRVCY Transform course is easy to protect your personal information and opinions against trolls and governmental control, check our course here.

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Hi, I’m Chris.

I’m here to help you through every step of your PRVCY journey.

Wether you’re already taking the PRVCY online courses or a new subscriber, I’ll post constant news and information based on our research to help you taking back control of you PRVCY!

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