Monday, February 19, 2018

Year Old Russian Article Outlines The Troll Factory "Indictment"


rbc.ru  |  The total budget for promotion in social networks was about $ 5 thousand per month, that is about $ 120 thousand for two years, follows from the internal statistics of the "factory", which is available to RBC magazine. These figures confirm the source of RBC inside the organization. Employees of the "factory" promoted posts from at least 40 communities: about half of the budget went to publications touching on racial issues, slightly less - with political bias.

The interlocutors of the magazine RBC argue: on Twitter, advertising was not bought, as it was not bought in Tumblr or Imgur. "We spent a little bit on the promotion of Twitter-accounts - wrote bots to gain weight, but this is a miserable expense," - clarifies the employee of the "factory". According to him, in the Facebook communities the bots were not used, because "it does not make sense, we needed live people", but RBC magazine could not verify this. The fact that repostili publications real users, not bots, also wrote The New York Times. Placing advertisements on Google platforms, interlocutors from the "factory" also deny, specifying only that "there were tests, but they did not receive continuations."

Approximately 10 million unique users from among US residents have seen at least one ad, created by structures associated with the "factory", cited statistics on Facebook. Savushkin is preferred to measure by coverage: in August 2016, the minimum was 15 million per week, in October 2016, the maximum bar was reached - 70 million hits per week, follows from the internal statistics of the "factory" received by RBC magazine in early 2017, th. Facebook in one of its applications pointed out that about 25% of advertisements from structures associated with the "factory" never appeared to anyone - because of their irrelevance to the audience.

The average CPM (the price for 1,000 impressions) in the US is $ 5-7, so the campaign coverage of 10 million people is not very much, you could do 30-40% more, says Sergei Efimov, director of customer services OMD Resolution . Moreover, the audience usually reacts to posts of a political type much better than the usual advertising of brands, which means that the CPM can be even lower - $ 2-3, the expert adds. Director General of Agency One Touch Anatoly Emelyanov says that the price of a subscriber in Facebook rises from $ 0.5 to 2, but with a good campaign creative "the cost of attraction reaches 1 cent for involvement."

However, a significant part of the advertising budget of the "factory" was not aimed at promoting the groups as such, but on scaling the experience with hot dogs.

Remote meeting

In May 2016, the famous American activist and one of the founders of the Occupy Wall Street movement Mika White received an email from a certain Jan Davis. He introduced himself as a freelance journalist of the BlackMattersUS community, dedicated to the problems of the black population, and asked for a telephone interview. The activist agreed, gave his number, but the conversation that took place eventually seemed strange to him. "The quality of the connection was poor, and the interviewer, in my opinion, was not a native speaker of the English language," an activist told the RBC magazine, which in 2014 Esquire magazine ranked among the "most influential people under 35".

Now you can read the interview with White only on the site BlackMattersUS - community pages in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with a total number of subscribers more than 250 thousand are blocked (only Tumblr is available). Deactivated and the account of "Jan Davis" on Facebook. A correspondent of the RBC magazine sent him a letter to the same address from which he communicated with White, but the "freelance correspondent" did not open it (data from the Readnotify service). The @BlackMattersUS account on Twitter was registered to a phone number starting with +7. According to the source of RBC magazine, close to the "factory", the same people who worked on the night shift engaged in interaction with various American activists, responding to comments in groups.

Unlike most communities that were run by the "factory", BlackMattersUS positioned itself as a non-profit news portal with its own edition. Anyone could also support the fighters against racism by sending a donation through PayPal to a wallet tied to a post on Gmail with xtimwalters online. In the editorial office, in addition to "Jan Davis," there were six more people working on the site. A correspondent of the RBC magazine discovered the accounts of two more "employees" on Twitter: one of them is blocked, the other has not been updated since 2016.

BlackMattersUS, 44.2% of the audience who visits the site from the search engines (data from Similarweb), managed to collect a whole portfolio of interviews with famous fighters for the rights of blacks. In addition to White, the community representatives talked with the legendary member of the Black Panthers movement Erica Huggins, the mother of a black teenager Ramarli Graham, murdered by police in New York, Columbia University professor and cross rapper Tupac Shakur Jamal Joseph, as well as Ramone Africa, a member of the Philadelphia movement of black MOVE , one of the few survivors of the unprecedented local police raid in 1985 (with a helicopter law-enforcement officers dropped a bomb at the headquarters of the organization).

Communication with the characters did not end after the interview. The same White received from the "Jan Davis" several letters asking to support the BlackMattersUS shares - for example, flash mob in support of the colleagues of Ramona Africa, caught up in prison. The essence of the request was to publish photos and videos in social networks with the demand to release them.