Russian bots on Reddit.

Two days ago, Reddit released their 2017 transparency report. In this report, they included a list of the 944 accounts that they had banned during their investigation into Russian efforts to exploit Reddit. According to Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman, these accounts were banned on suspicion of being operated by the Russian Internet Research Agency.

Interestingly enough, Reddit has preserved these accounts for the purposes of transparency, which means that anyone can trawl through their post history and take a look at the type of content they submitted.

Here are a few accounts that were on the list:

shomyo

Before it was banned, the Reddit account shomyo managed to rack up 45K karma points. Unlike many of the other accounts on the list, shomyo continued to stay active after the 2016 US presidential election had ended. The account made great efforts to “blend in” as a regular Reddit user, posting content about Linux, pugs, Global Offensive and PC gaming. However, it also submitted a number of politically-charged content to subreddits such as /r/conspiracy, /r/bad_cop_no_donut and /r/news:

  • This post by shomyo on /r/conspiracy insinuated that ISIS was being supported by the US. The submission received over 3K upvotes on /r/conspiracy. The amount of upvotes is pretty funny, considering many of the regulars users on /r/conspiracy are very quick to play down any talk about the Kremlin’s online influence.
  • It seems like shomyo was attempting to sow discord about Police in the USA by submitting images like this to /r/bad_cop_no_donut, As you scroll through the account’s post history, it becomes pretty clear that the account was pretty focused on posting news stories about police brutality in America.
  • Interestingly enough, the account submitted this picture of Moscow to the Cyber Punk subreddit.
  • In this submission to /r/conspiracy, shomyo attempts to stoke the flames of nationalism by making the insinuation that Twitter and the rest of the mainstream media have double standards when it comes to their coverage of Islamic terrorist attacks. The account also submitted the following news story to /r/atheism: This Muslim Woman Won’t Do Her Job Because of Her Beliefs, Now She’s SUING Her Employer Over It!
  • The account posted links such as: “DNC staffers wrote questions for CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer when he interviewed Trump, new batch of 8,000 WikiLeaks emails reveals.”

The most interesting submission from shomyo came in the form of a comment:

Typical bestof post:
> 4 days old account > links to a post by 1 month account
Complains about russian bots, downvotes etc. while gets his insta upvotes and frontpage. Kinda obvious who exactly spread misinformation, narratives and much more.

I think it is pretty funny to a Russian bot attempting to pour doubt on a story about Russian bots.

Some other interesting comments from shomyo:

  • “European Union regulations. OBEY.” – posted on a story about unfair pricing on Steam.
  • “Stop resisting. OBEY. Police state.”
  • “USA is my favourite police state. Spineless slaves.”
  • “FYI Russians don’t use retarded m/d and am/pm formats.”
  • “Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014, Human Rights Watch said today.”
  • “US army doing their job. Nothing special. Killing unarmed civilians. Killing kids. Raping. Humiliation.”
  • After Russia Today was banned from /r/news for spamming and vote manipulation, shomyo responded with the following: “The Russian news site RT.com has been banned from the popular Reddit forum r/news because of redneck’s butthurt”
  • The account also made various comments about the NSA, such as “LOL. NSA wants your data so bad.”
  • When a Ukrainian protester made a post about how Russia was invading their country, shomyo replied with two words and a question mark: “CIA propaganda?”
  • “Why american people so slave? Why no protests? Or you just enjoy your police state?”
  • “Biased US media. What a surprise!”
  • “How much did CTR pay you for /r/politics?”
  • “Obama is my favorite muslim dictator.”

whatimdoindhere

The account whatimdoindhere was also banned by Reddit administrators on suspicion of being operated by the Russian Internet Research Agency. The user behind this account was active between December 29, 2015 and November 10, 2016 – Two days after the US presidential election.

This account mostly posted to /r/the_donald, /r/funny and /r/bad_cop_no_donut:

  • A racist submission that whatimdoindhere posted to /r/the_donald, which is the main subreddit for Donald Trump supporters.
  • A submission to /r/the_donald making fun of Ted Cruz, which was one of Trump’s opponents in the Republican primaries.
  • This account was very similar to shomyo in the sense that it regularly submitted content about police brutality in the US.

toneporter

In November, 2017, it was revealed that alt-right American blogger Jenna Abrams was actually a fictional character that had been created by the Russian Internet Research Agency. Six days after this news broke, the user behind the account toneporter submitted their last link to Reddit. The link’s submission title:

Russian interference in US election: Right wing blogger Jenna Abrams Denies She Is Russian Troll

How interesting.

Other examples.

Other examples from some of the other Russian bots / shills that were included in the list:

  • clackie: “That’s right. But Putin knows how to conduct warfare, cannot say something like this about Obama.”
  • maineylops: “VOTE TRUMP! We have a war to fight!!”
  • maineylops: “BAD COP THREATENS TO TAKE BABY FROM ITS PARENTS”
  • maineylops: “Now the race is between Trump and Clinton. Trump will show her what it means to be a man!”
  • king_andersons: “No. I am not a bot.” [Source]
  • FaurnFlamebreaker: “Okay, you tease the bear, the bear is likely to strike back. What’s the point of whining about Russian aggression then?”

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