TLP uses illegal software to amplify agenda, manipulate social media trends
ISLAMABAD, October 31 (APP): Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) exposed to using illegal software to amplify its agenda and manipulate social media trends, tech experts urging social media companies to improve governance and take false accounts.
The banned outfit, which has created uncertainty in the country due to its violent protests, relies mainly on fake news and trends to provoke religious sentiments among the population and spark violence that has also claimed the lives of police officers. . The economic loss worth Rs 35 billion so far is apart from the loss of life.
In an in-depth study to investigate platform manipulation, Internet Observatory G5 examined 322,999 tweets (including retweets) for three hashtags operated by TLP, including #Labbaik Namoos-e-Risalat March, #Jangon Walay Nabi ki Aamad and #Kal Tak Mua ‘hida Pora Karo, in addition to 26,491 other tweets regarding #GAFI.
In total, the Observatory carried out the analysis on the basis of 349,490 tweets on the four hashtags.
The G5 Internet Observatory – a digital forensics arm of the Policy Research Institute of Islamabad – conducts research on the “Internet using data and analysis to develop ideas for policy and public interest. in addition to “research on prejudice, polarization, fake news and platform manipulation”.
According to the study, all three TLP hashtags, although trending on different days, but followed a similar pattern of increasing early in the phase and disappearing as the day progressed.
“The similarity of the patterns reveals a concerted and coordinated effort to push certain narratives, because at the top of a trending hashtag, more than 400 tweets were posted every minute, which equates to about 7 tweets per second,” revealed the study.
Looking at the aspect of the prevalence of humans and bots to manipulate the platform, it was revealed that hundreds of users were classified as being more likely to be bots.
“Another feature that makes TLP trends more of a coordinated platform manipulation is the lack of network scarcity which, in other words, means everyone or most nodes (users) are tied to each other. others either by retweeting the same content, having other people in their followers’ network, or liking tweets from users on the same network. On the other hand, the FATF network seems very sparse with fewer connections and more green and blue dots indicating the prevalence of human-type accounts (users), ”according to the Observatory.
The Observatory also underlined an important aspect concerning the governance of Twitter as the deletion of such accounts which actively use their platform in an artificial narrative amplification “which, according to its policies, is prohibited”.
He observed that many of these accounts continued to operate without suffering any consequences.
In contrast, he said the FATF chart shows a completely different picture with relatively stable growth in accounts created over a one-year period.
The study reveals that before each campaign launch TLP creates bulk accounts which are of course used for amplification purposes, but some of the accounts which are not controlled by Twitter or which are not banned continue to be participate in other similar campaigns led by the group.
The study also recommended that social media companies deploy more resources to prevent manipulation of their platforms; pay attention to non-UK and international right-wing actors and incorporate local laws and governance structures in the countries where they operate.
According to the Twitter Help Center explaining its policy guidelines, “You may not use Twitter’s services in a way that is intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts the experience of people. people on Twitter… You cannot mislead others on Twitter by using fake accounts… You cannot artificially amplify or disrupt conversations by using multiple accounts or coordinating with others to break Twitter rules.
It also prohibits “the use of a trending or popular hashtag for the purpose of subverting or manipulating a conversation or generating traffic or attention to any accounts, websites, products, services or initiatives. “.