Bot-like network boosts tweet hounding AG Brnovich to further challenge 2020 election
A full 45% of accounts following the central node, were created in 2020 or 2021. Seventy-one accounts following the central node were created between October 25 and November 25, 2021.
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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican US Senate-hopeful, was mentioned by former President Trump in a November 23 statement via his Save America PAC. Brnovich appears to be the focus of a bot-like network, found by Hoaxlines during a data collection effort focused on vaccine disinformation.
The statement came two days after the bot-like network had prodded at Brnovich with a tweet that read:
“Are You Paying Attention @GeneralBrnovich AZ AG - or are you waiting for WI to Decertify First? 🔴 Trump Asks Key Question After WI State Rep. Ramthun Introduces Resolution to Decertify the 2020 Presidential Election in Wisconsin In case you missed it. [link to article]”
The boost was not particularly high-volume, but noteworthy given the content and the rather textbook traits among accounts involved. The central node, which we will refer to as the central node, depicted by the large magenta node with an arrow pointing to Brnovich’s Twitter handle, shows a creation date in October 2021.
Past research into social media platform manipulation found that information operations tend to include a high number of recently created users, often with formulaic handles that reflect batch creation. That holds true regardless of if the effort is domestic or foreign. The account had nearly a dozen indicators that increase the likelihood an account is inauthentic.
Hoaxlines examined the creation dates for the 1440 users following the account mentioning Brnovich. The skew toward recent creation was quite extreme.
A full 45% (649 of the 1440 followers) of accounts following the central node, were created in 2020 or 2021. Seventy-one accounts following the central node were created between October 25 and November 25, 2021. Botometer, a machine learning algorithm trained on confirmed bot datasets, rated the account a 4.4 out of 5, meaning Botometer finds a 15% chance the account is a genuine account.
Two official candidates, one for state and one for federal office, were following the central node. While noteworthy, it is important to state that this does not demonstrate awareness or complicity in the inauthentic activity. It’s an observational statement.