The Friday#: Russian Spam Torpedos

 


The Sizzle: Hotfile The Fri-Up:  Russian spam torpedos The Sauce: Super Morrissey Brothers

The Sizzle

The Fri-Up

Russian Spam Torpedos

It is no secret that the Russian State Elections have caused some controversy over the last week. With Putin officially declared the winner yesterday (according to United Press International), it now seems set in stone.

Testament to the young and liberal political ideals believed to be held by the Twitter demographic, we noted significantly less discussion on Twitter around Putin than any of the other candidates in the two weeks build up to the election. We have had queries running in both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets in an effort to track the race.

However, since the principal social networks used in Russia are vKontakte and Odnoklassniki, we have not captured all the data. vKontacte was used heavily by political activists while Odnoklassniki was not used to any great degree with regards to the elections.

A significant trend in Brandwatch data we have tracked (since privacy laws prevent us to tracking much of vKontacte and Odnoklassniki), is that the elections were discussed on forums more than in the media to a much higher degree than for example the US or the UK elections. The following graph does not show Twitter data – although Twitter chat volumes were not as high as posts on forums.

Fig 1. mentions of candidates split by site type (excluding Twitter) from February 24th to March 9th

In December, when the chat surrounding the general elections was dominated by activists organising protests via Twitter, hijacked PCs were used to torpedo spam into the Twitter network to disrupt these organised demonstrations. The BBC reports the story here.  Brandwatch may have captured one of these spam torpedos in action.

Fig 2. Mentions of Russian election candidates from Feb 16th to March 9th.  

Click to enlarge graph

 

As we see from the graph, the spike from the suspected spam torpedo is significantly higher than the spike for the election result announcement on Monday. As discontent grows since the confirmation of Putin’s win, we suspect that more of these torpedoes are bound to be unleashed as decoys to protest and anti government sentiment on Twitter.

The Sauce

Something for the weekend:

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