Hundreds of accounts tagged ‘hatetrump’ and ‘ihatetrump’ have materialized in only days on the Facebook-owned social media app Instagram, and Facebook isn’t doing much about it.
The attacks on Trump are attempting to fool Instagram users into thinking the Hundreds of fake new accounts are real people and trying to get them to share canned anti-Trump posts.
A new survey by Italian analytics firm Ghost Data says it has identified the coordinated campaign to attack Trump.
According to Reuters news wire service:
“We have uncovered a small operation that is very likely part of something bigger,” said Andrea Stroppa, the head of research at Ghost Data, which has previously published reports on online counterfeiting and malicious botnets.
“I get the feeling that someone out there is experimenting. Testing the waters. They know what they are doing.”
So far, Facebook seems uninterested in doing much about the hundreds of fake accounts created just to attack Trump.
According to Ghost Data, around 350 fake accounts have been linked to the campaign.
Stroppa said his research had identified some 52,000 accounts on Instagram which were generally anti-Trump, using such hashtags as #impeachtrump. Many of these were genuine profiles that mixed personal and political messaging.
Drilling down, some 350 “suspicious accounts” emerged which were almost entirely devoted to deriding the U.S. president. Of these, 19 accounts stood out, appearing to be interlinked and waging incessant “memetic warfare”, using a battery of manipulated images and videos to belittle the Republican leader.
The 350 anti-Trump accounts have put out some 121,00 posts since the first of them was created in October 2016, generating a total 35.2 million so-called interactions, which includes people ‘liking’ the item or making a comment.
The several hundred fake accounts are responsible for hundreds of thousands of fake posts and interactions attacking Trump.
The smaller subset of 19 accounts started to emerge last August and have since posted around 3,250 times, generating 440,000 interactions — more than half of them since March.
“Their goal seems to be to infiltrate into (social media) networks that are much bigger,” said Stroppa.
With the coordinated, fake campaign, the group feels that Instagram will serve an important part in the 2020 campaign.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.