The Manipulation of Twitter – Smarter Every Day 214


– You’ve probably heard
a lot of talk lately about bots on Twitter or
even foreign involvement in our political process. For example, the president
of the United States publicly thanked a Twitter account which we now know was
run by malicious actors located somewhere in Russia. Now, depending on what
your political views are you might be inclined to roll your eyes and make some kind of joke about the president being tricked, but this is far more than that. This reply is totally
something I would do. If an account with over 100,000 followers Tweeted something nice to me I think an appropriate
response would be thank you because that person is
clearly very influential. When you look closer at this tweet and really start to think about it with an unbiased point of view you start to realize the incredible
act of deception here. And I’m not just talking about deceiving the president to reply, I’m talking about the 100,000 people that signed up to follow this account thinking that it was a
group if like-minded people located in Tennessee, when it was actually a malicious puppeteer sitting somewhere across the globe. Twitter is under attack. It’s a beautiful platform made for free, open discussion about different ideas. But the people that are
attacking Twitter every day are trying to control the discussion so they can ultimately
control those ideas. The goal is to promote tribalism and sow discord in society. This is the second part
of a three-part series we’re doing on SmarterEveryDay about attacks against our
social media platforms. And we’re gonna address today what Twitter calls platform manipulation. Today we’re gonna look at
data and we’re gonna talk to experts face to face
so we can understand what these malicious
people are trying to do, how they’re trying to do it and the most important thing of all, how you can get smarter so that you don’t take the bait? We’re going straight to the source so let’s go to Twitter
Headquarters in San Francisco and speak to the team in charge of protecting the platform against these types of attacks. I’m Destin. – I’m Del. – Del, nice to meet you. So you’re over Trust and Safety, is that right? – That’s correct.
– At Twitter and trust and safety in general is keeping people safe on the Internet. – That’s the goal. – Okay, first question, are we under attack on the Internet? Are there people actively trying to do things to change the way we think? – Absolutely, right. That’s what advertising is. – Yeah, good point, yeah. – And even when you get past advertising there’s this whole fascinating world of things that people do and the reason that I kind of pause when people say attack is
that people who are trying to get the word out about
something they believe in or who are trying to raise
awareness of something, engaged in a lot of the same behaviors that you might think of
when you’re actually talking about somebody who’s
trying to maliciously skew the information available
on a given topic. – There’s another issue
you’re probably hearing a lot about on Twitter these days and that’s accounts getting
censored or suspended. The first reason is
Twitter’s value system. You can go read about
that on their website if you want but I’m just
gonna tell you straight up, that’s beyond the scope
of what I wanna get into in this episode of SmarterEveryDay. If Twitter is censoring people because of their ideas, Twitter has to own that. However, on the flip side I also need to understand that there
is a battle going on behind the scenes to try
to keep the platform usable and free from manipulation. If you were to make your
own social media platform you’d have to make a decision
between two extremes. On the one side you could
run it like the Wild West, which kind of sounds nice at first until you realize that anything goes and stuff starts to clutter
up like your spam folder. On the other side you
could be a totalitarian but that’s not good for
liberty or free expression. So the trick here is
to do a balancing act. You wanna make the most amount of people on the platform happy but at the same time have just enough rules so you keep the platform usable. – So back in the day we
had the trending topics and the original way that
we did trending topics was that it would be what are the things that are being talked
about the most on Twitter? In a way, they were under attack, if you will, because the top trend every
day was Justin Bieber. – Yeah. – We were under attack. – The Beliebers were… – Specifically the Brazilian Beliebers (man laughing) who wanted Justin Bieber
to come to Brazil. – Really? – So what they would do is every morning they would wake up, they would log onto Twitter and they would start tweeting. @justinbieber I love you, come to Brazil one. @justinbieber I love you, come to Brazil three. And they were doing the number because we’d already made the fix that you couldn’t do
exactly duplicate text. So now they were adding a number onto it. And you would look at these accounts…
– It sounds like a joke but it’s not. – It’s totally not. These were real people. This was not automated. We ended up going, this is not actually a reflection of what we want trending topics to be. So we made the change, the first change, which was we’re going to actually rather than just saying, okay, well this is the topic that’s
being mentioned the most, we’re going to shift to
trying to really focus on how fresh a topic is? – Now, these fans weren’t
automating their tweets but automation is actually allowed by Twitter’s terms of service. This leads to all kinds of really fun and useful automation accounts, Year and Progress, Medieval Death Bot. A guy named Jeff and I run an account called WhoIsInSpace and
we occasionally operate that in autonomous mode. But these bots can get
out of control quickly. If they’re allowed, how do you filter out the bad ones? So we’ve all seen these nasty bots, right? They’ve got suggested pictures on there and they try to get you to click a link so they can get all your money. I used to see these all the time but I don’t really see them anymore. I’m freaking impressed that you guys are doing as well as you are because I guess it was two years ago I could see all this bot content and you’ve fixed that, at least in my feed. So I imagine there was a great amount…
– Hopefully not just yours. – Yes, but there was a great amount of engineering effort that went into that, I’m assuming. Those bots had a certain countermeasure to get around your gates and safeguards. You fixed that so now the bots are doing counter, countermeasures. And so now what you’re about to do is a counter, counter, countermeasure. – Eventually you just get up to an absurd number of counters. There are all sorts of additional things that you can do, speed bumps that you can
put in to do little checks to test what behavior
happen when you try X. So for example, there’s an account and we’re just like, something about this doesn’t seem right. Maybe it’s automated. We can throw a CAPTCHA at it. Did it pass the CAPTCHA? It passed the CAPTCHA, that doesn’t mean it’s not automated. It could mean that they’ve just purchased, having somebody who’s going to do CAPTCHAs that are thrown at it. Okay, let’s go ahead and have them confirm that they have access to the email address associated with the account. We’re gonna send them
a password reset link. Did they get there? How fast did they get there? How long did it take them
to verify that, right? So you have to maintain access to email addresses
associated with your account. You can’t just use burner emails. You have to be able to
go back and log into it. And look, friction can take any number of forms, right. – That’s the term you use, friction? – Yeah, friction. And there are things that
are necessary friction. There are things that are
unnecessary friction, right. There’s things where we really need to make this experience easier for people. – I personally experienced this friction that Del is talking about. I recently signed up for
a new Twitter account. It’s for something I
wanna do in the future and I went to tweet for the
first time after two weeks and the account was already suspended. I hadn’t done anything
so why am I suspended? That’s kind of weird and irritating. So to try to get a better picture of what’s going on let’s speak to a technical engineer
to try to understand what they’re doing? So this is Joel here at Twitter and what team are you on? – We’re the Site Integrity
Team in Trust and Safety. – The Site Integrity, so by site integrity you basically sniff out bots and you knock them down, kind of thing. – We obviously are focused on removing malicious
activity from the service. We have taken really substantial steps, especially in the last few years to address some of the most common forms of platform manipulation, like bots and automation. We’re challenging eight and a half to 10 million bots a week of which about three quarters of them wind up removed totally
automatically from the service. So it’s not like I’m sitting there and I’m like
– Wait, wait, wait. I’m sorry, how many a week? – Eight to 10 million accounts a week are challenged automatically and more than three
quarters of those accounts wind up removed automatically
from the service. – That is a stupid big number. I mean, think about this, congratulations, welcome to
the team here at Twitter. You’ve got the job. Here are 10 million accounts, go figure out which ones are humans based on their behavior. I just realized that you
might be doing things far more subtly than I realized. Okay, for example, if I get my phone, I’m grabbing my phone. I’m scrolling my tweet feed
and they’re loading below. The rate at which they load is correlated to a physical thumb movement of a human. Do you factor that in, that kind of stuff? Like when you say human behavior, are those the types of
things that you look at? – I don’t wanna reveal too much. – Okay, got it, got it. And to be clear, the reason you don’t wanna reveal too much is you need to keep all of your countermeasures secret because the moment someone understands your countermeasures
they could exploit those. – I think it’s very real
that there’s an arms race around platform manipulation. And it’s our job as a company and it’s my team’s job to try and stay one step ahead of attackers. But whenever you get really
good at cracking down on a certain pattern of behavior an attacker is going to adapt some of what they’re doing to try and exploit something that they perceive as a weakness. And so it can’t just be one person or one team of people. Our top priority as a company is combating these issues and there’s a lot of
people who are working on every angle of it. – Twitter’s free, all
you need is an account and attackers are trying
to manipulate Twitter by using computers to
automate the sign up process. Twitter’s forced to use
artificial intelligence to defend the platform because these computers never sleep and there’s not enough
humans to do the job. The problem is these bad guys are starting to make themselves as authentically human
as possible in order to sneak on the platform. Heck, in some cases they are human. Add to this deception the sheer number of signups and you can start to see how it’s possible to miss some of these and let them slip past the defenses. Speaking of defenses, after the first episode in this series I was contacted by the NATO Strategic
Communications Center and yes, I’m talking about the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization. I was given a report
written by Sebastian Bay who works with the NATO
Strategic Communication Center of Excellence to track all kinds of stuff related to NATOs interests. Okay, I’m on Skype with Sebastian Bay. Happy 70th birthday of NATO, by the way. Sebastian has worked on this report, Manipulating Social Media, The Black Market for
Social Media Manipulation. Do you mind introducing
yourself so everyone knows? – Yes, my name is Sebastian Bay. I’m a Senior Expert with NATO Strategic Communications Center of
Excellence in Riga, Latvia. – You’ve basically infiltrated
these black markets and you understand how they
work at this point, right? – So we’ve mapped the market. We’ve looked at all the
different resellers out there. We’ve looked at prices. We’ve looked at methods. We’ve basically seen what are they selling and how are they trying to
manipulate social media? How easy is it to buy a
click or a like out there and how effective are they? – When it comes to Twitter profiles what are you seeing on the black market? – So I should take one step back, so we’ve been looking at Twitter for quite some time actually and we published a report
called Robotrolling, which is a quarterly product where we look at manipulation of Twitter
when it comes specifically to NATO issues in the Baltic’s. And when we started looking specifically at this topic two years ago, as much as 70% of all activity relating to NATO and the Baltic’s
was actually manipulated. It was done by inauthentic bot accounts. That has gone down significantly though. Today it’s down to the low tens. – What? So 70% of all, on that specific topic online, because yeah, why are
people tweeting about NATO? And the answer is.
– And the Baltic’s, yeah. So when we looked at NATO and the Baltic’s and especially in Russian, we could see that that environment was extremely polluted. Most of those accounts
are very simple bots. They don’t have a history
and they’re only there to inflate the account or to make a certain topic trend, etc.. Twitter’s done a lot
actually to sure-up this but we can still see that
these very simple accounts and these very simple
bots can live as long as five to six thousand tweets before they get taken down. – So in your estimation, the new countermeasures
that Twitter is developing, is it being effective? – Yes, in terms of it has removed a lot of the simple bot activity. But we’re seeing different kinds of manipulation instead where we see more of
these anonymous accounts that are pushing content. So these are more developed
inauthentic accounts that are used for different kinds of social media manipulation. But when it comes to Twitter’s response to these simple Twitter manipulation, that has been effective. That has gone down over
the past few years. – How do these fake people get around those countermeasures
that Twitter’s developing? – Loads of different ways but when we talked to these people, because we’ve interviewed people that sell these things, they’d say that when
social media platforms put new regulation into
account, into effect, it takes them about two or three weeks to counter those new speed bumps that they put in, if you wanna use that word. And they do that by being inventive, simply by trial and error. If they put in a CAPTCHA service, well, they do ways to break that. If they put geofencing on IP addresses they use proxies, etc., etc.. So it’s become more difficult but we’re seeing, so far we don’t see any
limitation on the supply side. So you can buy fake activity on Twitter for an example within 15 minutes if you
have a PayPal account. Many of the people we have spoken to that do these engineering, they are people that live
in developing countries but also in developed countries. – So the people that buy
and sell these services on the black market are
obviously intelligent and they’re there with intent. There’s automated bots, there are actual humans. What is it they want
to do on the platform? To try to figure this out let’s go back to talk to Renée DiResta. She’s an expert in understanding social
media manipulation. So my understanding is the game on Twitter is to try to amplify inauthentic behavior using a bot or an account
that you’ve taken over or something like that, is that how the game works? – Yes, so what you wanna do is you wanna get your message to reach the greatest number of people. And so you’ll have bot accounts that just do it in an automated way, but Twitter’s gotten
better at detecting those. So then you have people
who literally sit there and operate the account
some percentage of the time. Sometimes it’s an agency, sometimes it’s just a regular person. One of the main things
that Twitter’s great for though is there’s
tons of journalists on it, which means if you
wanna manipulate a story out of the social ecosystem and get it onto the nightly news, Twitter’s a great way to do that if you wanna get it into a newspaper. ‘Cause once something
gets a sufficient amount of attention on Twitter, – Critical mass.
– yep, then the press will pick it up.
– Clearly this is news, I should put it on my news channel that I have.
– You got it. And it’s hard because for a long time, especially through 2016 you would see stuff would just trend, just show up in the trending algorithm. And then if the press wrote about it it was giving it more attention. If they were debunking it they were still giving it attention. And then if they didn’t write about it you’d have this next wave of accounts speculating about why the mainstream media was ignoring it? So there was really no winning. The whole game was if
you could get something to critical mass on
Twitter you could just gain that attention economy
and get massive lift, reach millions and millions of people. – Trying to get something
to trend in the news is more than just trying to
make money on the platform. This is a malicious, clever thing. Sebastian said he is seeing those types of services reflected
in the black markets, something he calls meta manipulation. I understand everybody now thinks about the Russian bots
and the 2016 election but I have to understand
that the countermeasures have been developed and
people know about that now, so they’re already moving on to a different type of manipulation. What’s going on now? – And what we’re seeing now is a lot of focus on meta manipulation. So that means that you
inflate the view counts to trick the algorithms of different social media platforms to make your own content
trend on those platforms. So we’ve run experiments where we’ve bought bot activity. When we do that, that attracts real viewers because the platforms think
that they are trending. So this sort of meta manipulation, that’s what we’re seeing now. That’s what many of these
resellers are promoting. – So this is alarming obviously but there’s something that’s even more disturbing about this. These accounts are the low tier accounts. There’s a higher tier account that exists. That one is more expensive to create, more expensive to operate
and is more devious. It’s specifically tailored to misrepresent to misrepresent a specific group of people. Accounts like this may actually have several thousand
actual human followers. – And you can actually buy almost any kind of custom made account. If you want a Swedish
female who’s been online for 10 years that has several friends with specific interests you can request that from these vendors
that sell accounts. – Really, so you can tailor
the specific demographic of the inauthentic account that you want to use for manipulation? – Sure. – If you’re trying to attack the African American community and create divisiveness in the African American community you can buy that kind of account online, or if you’re trying to attack a specific political group, you can do the same? – Yeah, it’s exactly like that. – These specialized accounts
are hyper interesting social media weapons. Think about it, they’re like a Trojan Horse because they can get you access to places that you’re not expecting. They’re like a false flag operation because they’re
misrepresenting what they are in order to blame
something on somebody else. And with these weapons you can perform precision strikes because you can target a very specific individual
on a very specific issue. – Twitter is also an incredible way to reach influencers because celebrities are all on there with
millions of followers, and if they retweet you your message just hits millions of people
or to reach the press, which is also on there. And so that’s how you have, if you get something trending on Twitter reporters will pick it
up and then it winds up on the front page of
The Times the next day. – So the idea is to
trick influential people and then use those as a vehicle to get this inauthentic
information out there? – Yep, Twitter is a… – So if you have more followers you have a higher standard, you have to be even more
serious about what you tweet. – Absolutely, yeah. You’ve gotta be really careful. When you think about if
you retweet something that’s wrong you have just pushed it out to potentially hundreds
of thousands of people and they’re not gonna
see you necessarily push out the correction. – So when Twitter finds
some of the bad guys they collect all the
data and then they’ll do one big data release so
you can pour through it and see what’s going on? People in academia are studying this stuff to try to develop AI methods
to detect these people and counteract them. It’s a cat and mouse game. One of the most interesting
thing that’s happened is congress released a
report with thousands of the actual Twitter
account names on them. If you pour through this
data you’ll figure out that there’s three basic categories. There’s accounts on the left, accounts on the right and
then there’s this weird local news category. I think it would be helpful to explain what an attack against
you would look like? It’s gonna come in the form of a retweet from a friend. It’s gonna be something funny that you resonate with. There’s a single moment
you need to be looking for and this is the tell, because you’re not going
to detect these accounts. Even the CEO of Twitter retweeted one of these accounts when they’re
tweeting all this stuff, the feel good stuff. But the moment you’re
looking for is a nudge, the nudge to think a negative thought against another group of people. If you belong to a certain demographic set or like a value system or belief system and you see someone saying something like, oh well, they always think that, we don’t do that, or something like that, that’s it. That nudge to think
something against them, that’s what you’re looking for. – With terrorism there’s
a more clearly defined set of things that are bad or there’s a clearly defined organization. – ‘Cause there’s a literal battlefield.
– There is, yeah. (lady laughs)
– And this is the battlefield of the mind. – Right.
– This is a battlefield of the mind where the enemy hides behind civilians. And the enemy has the added advantage that when they are
revealed as being an enemy you basically start to
distrust those around you, which was one of their
goals to begin with. They’re trying to get
you to not trust people in your own community. It’s very subtle but it’s very complex. – Right now there’s a really strong fear of false positives leading
to unfair take downs. I mean, you’re a content creator, right. This is never a thing
that you wanna see happen and so the question becomes how do you send up a flair saying we think that this account might be something that we should have a look at? We think this account
might be inauthentic. We think this account might be foreign, pretending to be
– because the minute – something else.
– you have a false positive, – The Internet explodes. – The Internet explodes
because Chubbywabs385 or whatever, surfing
engine 385 gets upset. If you rewind to what
I said at the beginning of the video and think
about the suspension, this yes, some of these are as a result of management-making policy decisions about how people are
interacting on the platform and things like that. But there’s this other category, engineers are literally
taking out malicious accounts at a rate of over 12 per second. Against an enemy that’s
constantly adapting, I can tell you, these tools they’re
developing are not perfect so it is not unreasonable to expect that every once and a
while, unfortunately, there’s gonna be an
innocent bystander caught in the crossfire. – The diversity of behaviors that we see are more wild than you
can possibly imagine and it’s international, it’s different communities
of people on Twitter. I’ll give you an example from last night. We have been working on developing some new machine learning models to help us identify potential groups of accounts engaged in
political manipulation. – Okay, it’s an election year. Got it.
– Yeah. – Or it’s election season starting. – It’s always, it’s an election somewhere, all the time, forever. So this is obviously a big priority for us and we were looking at some of the output of this model and we identified
this group of accounts that looked like they were impersonating local police departments
and mayors of towns. – Holy crap.
– And I was looking at them and I’m like, what is happening here? There’s like 50 of these accounts. This is like clear manipulation. This was a problem. And then I saw that one of the mayors was tweeting about being in a K hole and I’m like hang on a second, why is this mayor on ketamine and talking about that on Twitter? And then I realized that
all of these accounts were operated by somebody
who was role playing as characters from the Grand
Theft Auto video games. All of the cities that they were operating these accounts from were
places where a GTA game has been set and they
built up this elaborate fantasy role playing
community with accounts on Twitter that were talking to each other as if they were in the GTA Universe. – Something negative happens, you make a decision and you take down Aunt Suzie’s gymnastics
class or whatever. – Sorry, Aunt Suzie. – You take that down
because it gets rolled up in some of these attempts to take down legitimate manipulators, so they hate you because
you’re big, corporate Twitter. And at that point in time you, an engineer, sitting there saying, I just wanna help people. That’s hard, how do you deal with that? Because people love to hate you and you are trying to help them, how do you deal with that? How do you sleep with that? – We treat all those moments of outrage as learning opportunities. I think when people are mad
at a company like Twitter, and this is hard, I spent my first couple
of years at Twitter struggling with how angry people are if you get it wrong
and how to manage that? But ultimately, I think the majority of them are mad because
they want us to be better and they want Twitter to be a community where they can really
participate and engage and get informed and they want it to be the best platform it can be. And so as a company I
think we take a mindset of wanting to learn from that, to be humble about it, to understand where we can do better and if we take down Aunt
Suzie’s gymnastics class because something about
it seemed like spam, we’re gonna really dissect that moment and try and figure out what
tripped this algorithm? What caused us to do that? Do we think that’s right? And this is a 1% error
rate that we think is just in the interest of everyone on Twitter. – It’s millions of people. – Right, the challenge of
scale is 1% of 300 million is a lot. So we’re always trying
to balance those things. – Speaking of balance, if you watch this video
and your whole takeaway is, we’ll, I’m just not gonna trust anybody on the Internet, then there’s an argument to be made that I just played into the enemy’s hand by making this video. If they hide behind civilians and then when we figure it out the result is to not trust anybody around you, that is not good. These are our neighbors. That is next level psychological warfare that they’re hitting us with. I’m gonna podcast and my cohost Matt and I have this phrase that we
use a lot, political grace. If the point of these
attacks is to divide us then proactive, intentional
unity has the potential to be an effective countermeasure on the personal level. Maybe we should just not assume the worst of each other. And that extends to the people that are developing these
countermeasures at Twitter. Their job is to perfectly
protect a platform and never make a single mistake. And frankly, it’s an
impossible job that never ends. Do you feel like in some
cases you’re over matched? – I think that we always try to assume that we are not as advanced as the people who are trying to attack us, because assuming otherwise
basically puts you in a position where it’s
easy to develop blind spots. If we are always assuming that this is an arms race and that we should never be patting ourselves on the back going, we got all the countermeasures in place, we’re always going to
assume that it’s evolving, that it’s evolving
quickly and that we have to stay on top of it. And that’s really the only way you can think about it. (test tone)
– So in this episode we talked about Twitter and the specific technical
engineering countermeasures they use to protect the platform. Sometimes when people talk about a sponsor at the end of the video
they just give you a URL and tell you to go support, in this case SmarterEveryDay, but thought it would be more fun to tell you the specific
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probably thinking, well, how do you know this Destin? They’re not saying this. A foreign government is. A foreign government tried to seize an ExpressVPN server in 2017
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for helping us make this social media manipulation series. This is the second video. We’ve done YouTube, this is Twitter and of
course we’re gonna do Facebook after this. I’m thinking about expanding it to Reddit, what do you think about that? Anyway, big thanks to everybody. I noticed on the last
video you were commenting on the video, specifically to boost it on the algorithm, that means you get it. Thank you so much. Also, I’m gonna do something weird. I’ve never done this on SmarterEveryDay but I’m gonna tell you
about my Twitter account. I normally don’t talk
about my Twitter account but come on, I mean, if there’s ever
a video to tell you about my Twitter account this is it. So I think if I align this
neon head up right there you should be able to click on it and go to a page where I’ve set up all my Twitter accounts. I’ve got @smartereveryday, which is the channel, of course. We got @destinsandlin and a couple of other surprise ones I
don’t normally talk about. So there you go, you can go click on the Twitter stuff. I hope this video earned
your subscription. This is a lot of work, that’s an understatement so I hope you enjoyed this content. Please feel free to share it. I’m Destin, you’re
getting smarter every day. – Have a good one, bye.

Comments 100

  • Our Social Media Platforms are under attack. Twitter is being hit with systematic external attacks in the form of meta-manipulation and inauthentic users who attempt to shape the discussion by slowly and methodically radicalizing people. These attackers have demonstrated the desire to promote tribalism and the "us" vs "them" mentality. I propose proactive unity as a countermeasure.

    It's kind of interesting how crazy typing a sentence like that makes a person sound… but it's absolutely true.

    My twitter accounts are here (open in new tab?):
    http://www.smartereveryday.com/twitter
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    For those commenting on Twitter having a political agenda:
    I've read the same articles and listened to the same podcast episodes you have on this subject…. and I've concluded that I seem to take a more nuanced perspective on this than others.

    Whenever I hear about an individual ban/suspension/censorship, the first thing I do is read about the context of the ban. I then divide them into 2 groups.

    *Group 1 Suspensions: Bans based off of Twitter's values and policy decisions. *
    In this case it's clear to me a human actively makes a decision to ban someone, or a specific keyword or phrase etc. I agree that several of their policies (banning certain words, phrases, or "protecting" certain groups but not others) should be discussed and debated openly. In case you're not detecting my stance on this I'll spell it out… I have very strong feelings about these things but I'm avoiding disclosing how I feel in order to shine more light on Group 2 suspensions, which are the result of a far more technical threat. Group 1 Suspensions could be changed tomorrow if certain people change their mind.. Group 2 could not.

    Group 2 Suspensions. Bans/Suspensions taking place because Twitter is trying to fight literal armies trying to manipulate our society.
    I'm finding my attention drawn more to this group more because the attackers' intentions here are so malicious. While doing research for this video, I found that the majority of the inauthentic behavior is focused on content meant to align with the right. This make people on the left think "those people on the right" are more radicalized than reality thus making them retreat further left. Those on the right are also in danger of being pushed further right. The "Us" vs "Them" thinking starts immediately. The play here is subtle, and quite frankly, this is a very intelligent way to attack us. The dataset Twitter released has more right leaning accounts than left. (Look for yourself, here's a spreadsheet URLs to the WayBack machine for each username in that dataset. The Wayback machine didn't image all pages: http://bit.ly/WaybackTrolls ) .One of the interesting problems that Twitter has, is that BECAUSE the majority of the malicious content is built to look like the political viewpoints from one side, they must test their countermeasure algorithms against inauthentic content that also seems to be authentic content on the right. As a result of the target set being unquestionably biased, I would expect disproportionate amount of "collateral damage" flaggings to be on the right.

    Whenever I see someone who has been suspended, I try to be intellectually honest and read their complaints and run it through my engineer filter. If they seem emotional, I try to identify what types of emotions are being communicated and use that to figure out what category the ban fits in.

    Group 1 Bans are usually pretty clear. These bans are usually a process, not a single event. Still, these victims feel that their speech is being controlled (and by definition it is) so they're usually angry.
    Group 2 Bans are often collateral damage, so the sense of injustice is elevated. From what I can tell, Twitter doesn't provide indicate that the suspension was automatic, therefore the user is forced to assume they have crossed some type of ideological barrier and therefore been deemed "not politially correct". The anger in this case usually has a tiny dash of confusion mixed in.

    Twitter usually tries to explain that it's a result of automatic filtering…. but without the context of what's going on in this episode, victims of group 2 bans are left to logically assume a political agenda on the part of twitter. They are assume they are the victim of a Group 1 ban. I do not think this is always the case.

    Heightened emotions lead Group 2 ban victims to tell as many people about the injustices at Twitter, often as loudly as possible. I've noticed when Twitter is notified (as recently happened with the movie "Unplanned" ) the suspension is reversed immediately, followed by a statement by Twitter explaining that the suspension was the result of an autonomous system. To the victim, this explanation is insufficient, and they continue to think Twitter actually wanted to silence them. In the cases I've read, the victims sometime think that because they yelled loud enough the decision was reversed because they publicly shamed Twitter.

    The implications of this are pretty big for Twitter. The result of all this confusion is that the public ends up thinking Twitter's efforts to "control" things are much lager than they actually are. I think it's a good idea for Twitter to be more transparent about this stuff, and Del said they're moving in that direction which is great. For the record, Twitter was 100% open with me and didn't restrict my message in any way.

    Because these issues are related to countermeasures, Twitter's sometimes not at liberty to discuss what exactly triggered their system, because knowledge of such systems could lead to exploitation.
    I'm personally empathetic because I recognize Twitter is fighting a war.

    ……I also think free speech is awesome.

  • Sorry, Destin. Looks like an ad for Twitter. How much were you paid?

  • Love this series that you're doing! So needed in today's social environment.

  • I don't think that lady likes white men in trucker hats

  • they manipulate their app aswell to "raise awareness" or "get the word out"

  • This is a fresh take on the idea that social media platforms are trying to do good by censoring people. To some extent, I agree with Destin and Twitter as they try to keep people from spamming us with junk. With that being said, when these platforms censor one side of politics and it is brought to their attention their reaction should be, "I'm sorry. Let us fix that." At times I think that is their reaction… and other times it is, "No, we don't like your viewpoint." Destin does a good job keeping it civil which makes him very special. But just to be clear, the other side does not always play by those values and conservatives (not radicals) are being censored. Censored for things like – believing abortion is wrong. You don't have to agree with the pro-life movement to know that it is a common belief in America and there is no reason to censor it.

  • I really hate people like Destin. That is; people who pretend to support freedom of speech, yet CLEARLY DON'T.

  • I really like this series

  • Actually impressive. Have seen this channel grow, making these connections across multiple corporates is impressive.

  • What is that ladder doing there?

  • Thanks Destin.

  • Let me speak clearly. Social networks are designed to manipulate the population. They don't even hide it anymore. It is very clear that many topics are clearly cooked by some kind of AI algorithm that immediately manipulates conversations, visualizations, and likes. Twitter and other social networks are as guilty if not more, of manipulating like the Russians or the Chinese do. Trump is nothing more than a puppet made by FOX and baked by Twitter.

  • No automation is not allowed, if it is why they suspending my account for it ?
    That and suspicious behavior I'm so not doing !
    Means they really can't detect automation adequately, don't use it.
    Use a vpn and it seems like they have a problem with that, but they don't tell anyone they do.
    Twitter using computers to tell humans not to use computers.

  • Otroligt viktigt!

  • But why is this video uploaded on the 1st of April? xD

  • "maybe we should just not assume the worst of each other" — thank you Destin, and right on! We have been and are being tricked by all these bots. You talked about the idea of the "other" — a group that's not part of yours. Instead of us spending time wondering what the heck is wrong with the other half of the country, we should instead focus on the actual adversaries: the bots and their creators.

  • twitter is manipulating twitter. end of story.

  • Nice vid

  • Choose not to use Twitter or Facebook, e-mail works more or less the same way and less problems..

  • it just boggles my mind the fact that the Russian government, under putin's approval, would fund an organization that creates internet trolls. it's beyond evil, it's basically DEMONIC, and i'm not even religious

  • Just quit social media. There are literally no benefits to them anymore.

  • Loved this video! I don't comment very often, but I wanted to do my part to boost your engagement so more people see your video.

  • Trendings in indonesia pretty stupid lately. Like last 2 years or so.

  • Twitter is manipulating twitter. What are you afraid of? People in other countries who have opinions you don't like? They don't have any more control than you do. Twitter, on the other hand, does.

  • Aren't you a scientist? You think you could maybe muster up a tiny bit of skepticism?

  • You're inauthentic SmarterEveryDay. Maybe we need to flag your account for hate speech?

  • take my comment, upvote, and subscription. Well done. 😀

  • The simple answer is to ignore Twitter… I can't think of a single useful thing I ever saw there, and dumped them years ago. Yes, you have to do your own fact checking on any platform, but there's no reason to set yourself an impossible task like 'cleaning up' Twitter.

  • Awesome! Let's get this video boosted!

  • Its fine to be misled, just don't get polarized about it.

  • Left wing groups "nudge" people towards an us vs them mindset everyday. The confirmation bias here is insane.

  • Algorithm boost comment 😂

  • I sure appreciate your personal HEALTHY attitude about a problem we have…and find a way to help us still trust those around us! Thanks for the education and tips!

  • Good Stuff!

  • The inventors of technologies used by Twitter, ate the Culprits.

  • Awwwssooooom Work!

  • Great Video, What happens when give unlimited rules early on.

  • These series is really informative. Thank you for these. Great job, sir.

  • pro-active intentional unity. YES.

  • I do not like her… she (or her team) is responsible for twisting ideology to be biased toward Leftist beliefs. She allows Shaun King to make direct calls to action of violence and I received a notice that his tweet did not violate the trust and safety terms… but Mitch McConnell shows a home video of people outside his HOUSE calling for his death and Mitch gets his account locked.
    She is a dishonest person and a hypocrite.

  • Yep… from her own mouth, Twitter kills accounts that spread information that TWITTER determines to not be newsworthy or tweets that manipulate people's ideas (advertisements included)… THAT is how Twitter is able to shut down Conservative speech… they just label it as "bots" and their algorithm kills the threads – making it "non-newsworthy" – therefore, Antifa trends, democrats trend, anti-Trump trends… and Mitch McConnell gets locked for exposing truth about threats to him at his house by those on the Left.
    Twitter executives and their teams ARE the manipulators.

  • You got lost in my YouTube feed but now I have so many videos to catch up on it's actually a good thing occasionally.

  • helpin

  • The verse at the end is really fitting!

  • Solidifies my decision to simply not participate in any form of "social media". What a cesspool.
    I have a phone. I can call if I want to.

  • Great video

  • Wait wait wait… One thing we are taught is to NOT go to emails asking us to reset our password. If someone hasn't requested a password reset and they suddenly received one… Why would they answer it? To them it's someone fishing for info as that's what everyone is taught. So how is that an effective measure to tell if someone is a bot or not? It makes Twitter look suspicious instead

  • Wtf is a Senior Expert with NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence?? Is he an expert of anything and does he own the NATO SCOC??

  • Sooo… who's standing behind small vievs vs over 7mln subs?!

  • honestly, the info about ExpressVPN utilizing RAM for log storage was the most interesting fact in this video for me

  • "proactive, intentional unity"

  • Busted!

  • Quite useful stuff 🤘

  • You can still (as of a month ago) mask your source and automate calls with a user (as opposed to a Dev app) source with a fairly small investment. This is because the keys are loaded in the browser and seems to be static. The SCRF tokens are also static and not time,ip or session sensitive. Exploit was reported to Twitter in April… Hope it was fixed. (don't believe so though)

  • Great video and it gave me a different perspective of what Twitter does. On a different note… Is it just me or did that’s guys T-shirt logo look like the SS symbol?

  • Excellent video.

  • at 19:29 why is the post's time (6 min-utes) written in telugu (6నిమి)??
    Is it possible the bots were using proxies from India?

  • I know you don't need it, but you deserve some documentary award for this. Super high quality content as always!

  • Reddit is a really interesting thing to explore, especially taking a look at the 2013 boston reddit race, after the bombing at the boston marathon.

  • I like your rocket

  • A salute to all such engineers who are our Digital Military 🙏❤️

  • Русские тут не при чем, вы что)))

  • The saddest part about this video is its view relationship with your golf ball video.

  • Great video. I have watched all three in the series.

  • I am an Italian boy and I follow your videos with a lot of interest.
    Compliments by Italy.

  • 24:10 "We are really going to dissect what tripped the algorithm" – NOPE. Either this lad is hiding a super major breakthrough in AI or, much more probably, he is lying to us. It is these "look good lies" that build distrust…

  • The point that needs to be recognised asap, is that Twitter exceeds its moral authority. The ends do not justify the means – ever. Did anyone mention the word 'truth' here? It is relevant right? Who decides what the truth is, or who is entitled to it? Twitter ultimately is all about superficial manipulation of people, perhaps short term, for profit. Its fundamentally flawed.

  • Great

  • I watch this video some months ago and one line resonated with me,

    "…Political Grace. If the point of these attacks is to divide us, then proactive, intentional unity has the potential to be an effective countermeasure on the personal level. Maybe we should just not assume the worst of each other."

    I came back today to get that line to share it with others.

  • Anyone with different views from me is a bot.

  • Great series, Destin!

  • What is that blinking device in the top right corner of Destin's map?

  • The evil is these large corporations picking a side and silencing others. Republicans, vaccinations, and on.

  • Creating unity or creating division, both are double edged swords. A lose/ lose proposition. Why are you not asking these platform employees about their farming of personal information of their platform participants?

  • the woman from twitter was reaaally scary

  • Still love ya man! Great content, as usual!

  • Thanks so much for all you have done to help people get smarter every day.

  • This series about the most interesting news I've ever watched.

    Smarter everyday(Destin)❤… a real role model and inspiration for me

  • Where can I find the document shown @10:35? Couldn't find it in the links. Thx

  • Thank you for pointing out the "nudge" at 18:52. The devisive us verses "them" prospective. Most excellent. I'm subscribing. 🙂

  • this has to be one of the most effective promo videos i’ve come across 😂 but that aside, thank you so much for all the work you’ve put into gathering the information for the many of us and for constantly putting out actually quality stuff and educating every one of us to be, smarter every day. just thank you!

  • Brilliant work . . .as always!

  • Alternative thought: we don't actually need Twitter.

  • Ok, sorry. I liked the first part but this one is kind of aggravating. You keep doing the, "see I knew it" move. Like you're trying to prove to us that you're as smart as they are. Cool, you're smart bro, but let them answer.

  • thanks for the video. This really helped to figure out why i was blocked 2x on my twitter account.

  • I consider myself a scholar of life in general and behavioral cues. I wish I was capable of supporting you financially through any of the platforms you use. Unfortunately I'm not able to the moment.

    I'm curious about your overall behavior @ the Twitter location. You were not comfortable or not yourself. Did they sit you down in a room of lawyers and scare you prior to filming? The first woman you interviewed was constantly interrupting you and it seemed as if you were holding back a lot of things that you felt needed to be said. Whatever it was, you appeared very uncomfortable. Can you help me understand that situation a little better.

    If not, no worries. It's 100% possible I was seeing something that wasn't actually there. It never hurts to ask, after all I'm asking in hopes of getting smarter every day. Lol.

    Love what you do sir. 1 person @ a time is all its going to take. Eventually society will improve.

    Thanks for all that you do for human kind.

    John d.

  • Biebers from Brazil.

  • What's the title of the mentioned podcast?

  • Yes people should give more benefit of doubt, but also don't trust that everything is as it seems.

    You're probably already believing a lot of lies, let's try to minimize that, not embrace it.

  • Only 630k views by now?. It's such a sad reality we are facing right now.

  • Everybody keep calm everything‘s under control.

  • Any body else notice the red and blue coffee cups in his interview. Red is bad, blue is good. Simple manipulation.

  • generic comment for algorithmic promotion

  • 🤔 hmm…. interesting.

  • Love the vids mate

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