Week 1 of the Voice Referendum cycle and 5th Column has identified a disturbing divisive campaign occurring on "X" (Twitter). The campaign is to incite anger from people firmly in one camp towards the other camp.
Questions come to mind when I look at these accounts.
- Are they Bots or Humans?
- How does election advertising laws apply to these anonymous accounts clearly pushing a side?
- Are they run from Australia within the NO or YES camp or a foreign actor?
- If they are a foreign actor does our foreign interference or election laws apply?
- Can "X" (Twitter) verify any of this?
Why we track Division and Anger
Divisive campaigns that incite anger and splinter groups away from each other in a sowing of 'khaos' way are hallmarks of Russia's information warfare strategy. Russia goals to sow discord, increase division and cause 'khaos' are to ultimately cause more division within society and a loss of trust in the results of elections. We warned the Australian Senate about this and are monitoring for it.
5th Column Scores
5th Column suggest there is a mix of human and likely bot accounts involved in both camps.
What is 5th Column
The 5th Column platform is an is an artificial intelligence that detects bots or inauthentic accounts on social media. It is designed to track advertising fraud where up to 32% of digital spend is lost. It will be operational during the Voice Referendum. It was originally developed in 2021 when the Pentagon was attacked on social media by the Russian made SANA botnet during the Myanmar coup.
The 5th Column algorithm utilizes a scoring system to determine whether a user is a human, a bot, or falls into the ambiguous gray area. A score of 0 indicates a high probability of the user being a human, while a score of 1 suggests a high likelihood of the user being a bot.
If an account is regularly engaging with bots then their score may tend to be high even if they are actually a human.
What is our position?
Internet 2.0 does not have a stated political position as we see ourselves as bipartisan. We have not been paid by any political party or campaign. We are pro-democracy.
We suggest social media companies should remove bots and monitor for CIB. We suggest people should have to verify they are a citizen of the country they are actively engaging in the political debate of.