Reddit: We’ve Found 1,000 Suspected Russian Troll Accounts, But Most of Them Sucked at Getting Upvotes

Graphic: Fabián Alexis (Wikimedia Commons)

Reddit says it has identified and plans to purge 944 accounts suspected to be tied to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm that has been linked to an alleged campaign to spread disinformation and propaganda on US social media sites before the 2016 elections.

In a post to the site’s announcements subreddit, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman (under the handle spez) put forth the site’s annual transparency report and provided more detail on efforts to find and eliminate Russian troll accounts he wrote about in early March. With a few exceptions, Huffman wrote, these 944 accounts were not successful in accumulating karma, Reddit’s internal metric for tracking upvoted vs downvoted posts:

-70% (662) had zero karma

-1% (8) had negative karma

-22% (203) had 1-999 karma

-6% (58) had 1,000-9,999 karma

-1% (13) had a karma score of 10,000+

Huffman said that of the 282 suspected IRA accounts that had accumulated karma, “more than half (145) were banned prior to the start of this investigation.” He added that those accounts that had been identified were mostly eliminated as far back as 2015:

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.

Be the first to comment