Researchers discover “Fishwrap” influence campaign recycling old terror news

Researchers discover “Fishwrap” influence campaign recycling old terror news

Enlarge / Old news, new fish. (credit: Rick Barrentine/Getty Images)

Researchers at Recorded Future have uncovered what appears to be a new, growing social media-based influence operation involving more than 215 social media accounts. While relatively small in comparison to influence and disinformation operations run by the Russia-affiliated Internet Research Agency (IRA), the campaign is notable because of its systematic method of recycling images and reports from past terrorist attacks and other events and presenting them as breaking news—an approach that prompted researchers to call the campaign “Fishwrap.”

The campaign was identified by researchers applying Recorded Future’s “Snowball” algorithm, a machine-learning-based analytics system that groups social media accounts as related if they:

  • Post the same URLs and hashtags, especially within a short period of time
  • Use the same URL shorteners
  • Have similar “temporal behavior,” posting during similar times—either over the course of their activity, or over the course of
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