Is Mike A Troll?


Over on Facebook I have this FB friend who I think is a real person.  I think Mike is a real person because my wife and I had the real pleasure of meeting Mike for dinner.  He seems real!

But, on FB he comes across as a troll.  The problem may be that Mike likes to play games on FB .. Acting like a pompous English teacher, playing games with rhetoric or .. acting like an ELIZA program with replies well “you are so much brighter than I, you must be a lot more educated then I am!” or doing his imitation of a grammar Nazi. When all else fails, Mike goes passive aggressive … talks about receding into a beer bout and inviting me and others to unfriend HIM.

To make Mike more intersting (and to dminish the ideas that he may realy have) his posts on FB are usually centered on attacks on anyone in y large pool of FB friends who criticizes Trump.

I was intrigued enough to start answering Mike as if he were a bot ..only asking questions that I was pretty sure what a bot doing Mike (or a human playing a role) would apply.  Sure enough , my tactic worked!  So, I created the image to the left. He got mad. Sorry Mike, but that is how I see you.

So, if I had not had dinner with Mike, could I now decide he as a “real” person in an era where agents of various governments are manipulating social media as well as some of the more irritatign robo callers are using AI to imiate people?  A

Arecent study of a Russian troll farm reveals that there are some behaviors that might discriminate trolls from from regular internet users. The following comments are a mix of text from the authors of the study and my ideas of how this applies to Mike.

The study is from twitter nt Facebook.  It looked at  27,291 tweets posted by 1,024 Twitter accounts controlled by the Internet Research Agency’  The study found that the Russian government troll farms were focused on tweeting about specific world events like the Charlottesville protests, specific organizations like ISIS and political topics related to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The study also found that these troll-farm accounts behaved differently from regular people online. For example, when declaring their locations, they listed a country, but not any particular city in that country.  Hmmm … Mike has told me quite a bit about himself but all this was before he bagan to act like a Troll.

Could a Troll have overtaken, as it were, POSSESSED Mike?

Back at the Russians, the study found that they frequently reset their online personas by changing account information like their name and description and by mass-deleting past tweets. In this way, the same account – still retaining its followers – could be repurposed to advocate a different position or target a different demographic of users.  For instance, on May 15, 2016, the troll account with the Twitter ID number 4224912857 was calling itself “Pen_Air” with a profile description reading “National American news.” This particular troll account tweeted 326 times, while its followers rose from 1,296 to 4,308 between May 15, 2016, and July 22, 2016.  But as the U.S. presidential elections approached, it changed: On September 8, 2016, the account changed its name to “Blacks4DTrump” and its profile description to “African-Americans stand with Trump to make America Great Again!” Over the next 11 months, it tweeted nearly 600 times – far more often than its previous identity had. This activity no doubt helped increase the account’s follower count to nearly 9,000.

The activity didn’t stop after the election. Around August 18, 2017, the account was repurposed again. Almost all of its previous tweets were deleted – leaving just 35. And its name became “southlonestar2,” with a description as “Proud American and TEXAN patriot! Stop ISLAM and PC. Don’t mess with Texas.”

FACEBOOK, REDDIT, and even Email?

The study says that the Russians expanded to  Facebook and Reddit. I sometimes suspect the trolls are in my email but I know they have attacked this website, THE-Ave.US. 

Of course, Mike might not be an Ivan.

He might just be Mike but how can I tell?

0 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Hrr #

    So says the performance artist who works under the name “Stephen M. Schwartz, MD, PhD.” Your work is derivative of “Lazlo Toth” (Don Novello). Lazlo played the role of ignorant fool but was likable and polite. Your performance, however, is bitter and mean-spirited. Are you ever planning on disclosing your real identity, “Stephen?”

  2. theaveeditor #

    Gee .. I ask if Mike is a troll and then The-Ave.US gets this post from an anonymous source someplace in Seattle?

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