While Zuck squirmed, Reddit revealed it found and killed 944 Russian troll factory accounts
Posts hit hyper-partisan r/the_donald, CEO says most crimped before 2016 election
While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the US Congress, Reddit confessed to its own Russian problem.
A post by CEO Steve Huffman, aka “Spez”, reported that the site has identified 944 accounts it thinks were run by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Russian “troll factory” whose staff have been indicted for alleged election meddling.
Spez wrote that of the 944, only 13 had “Karma” – reddit’s measure of community contributions – of over 10,000. 662 of the IRA accounts had zero karma, suggesting they were lurkers, not posters.
316 posts by the trolls-for-hire landed on /r/The_Donald/, the hyper-partisan, pro-Trump subreddit. 1,443 posts made it to /r/uncen/, a subreddit that offered news its moderators felt was not covered accurately elsewhere.
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Spez wrote that while the accounts made it through Reddit’s defences, the site’s ongoing vigilance detected and destroyed most before the 2016 United States federal and presidential elections.
“Of the 282 accounts with non-zero karma, more than half (145) were banned prior to the start of this investigation through our routine Trust & Safety practices,” he wrote. “All of these bans took place before the 2016 election and in fact, all but 8 of them took place back in 2015.”
“This general pattern also held for the accounts with significant karma: of the 13 accounts with 10,000+ karma, 6 had already been banned prior to our investigation—all of them before the 2016 election. Ultimately, we have seven accounts with significant karma scores that made it past our defenses.”
Make of that what you will!
Spez also revealed Reddit’s 2017 transparency report, which detailed the 310 requests the site received from government agencies last year. Of those, 79 requested the preservation of account information and 213 requested the prediction of account information.
The site also received “one order to conduct real-time monitoring of a Reddit user’s communications in 2017. This request was a Pen Register / Trap and Trace Order, which allows the government to obtain certain non-content information, such as ‘dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information’.”
7,825 notifications of alleged copyright infringement came Reddit’s way in 2017, with 4,352 resulting in content removal.
Reddit has linked to all 944 accounts here and preserved them so we can all enjoy this moment in history. ®
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