Ciberclarias cubanas, en la mira del multimillonario Elon Musk

Cuban regime keeps its army of bots on Twitter, despite Elon Musk

Havana Cuba. — Elon Musk, the new owner of the social network Twitter, continues to work to mitigate or completely eliminate fake accounts, or bots, as they are also known. In a tweet Posted on December 11, 2022, the South African tycoon wanted to show that he is winning the war against automated interactions.

“Calling all bots and trolls, please attack me!” he posted. Minutes later he himself replied: “Well, the bots so far are unable to reach the top of my answers!”, hinting that they have developed new algorithms on the social network to moderate their presence.

Although it is impossible to block all of fake accounts that operate on Twitter, everything indicates that the developers of the social network are on the right track, which could considerably reduce the reach of the accounts of Cuban leaders or state institutions with a presence on that digital platform.

Such accounts use programs that are capable of automatically retweeting and giving likesamong other functions that popularize a certain account or topic (hashtag), with the aim of creating artificial trends.

These fraudulent actions are carried out by cyber clarians, generally young people at the service of the regime, who receive benefits for their illegal activity on social networks.

Botometer helps to hunt down bots in Twitter

botometera tool created by the Observatory of Social Networks (OSoMe) of the School of Media and the Institute of Network Sciences (IUNI) at the University of Indiana (United States), is capable of checking the activity of a Twitter account and calculate a score in order to know if your administrator is a bot or a person.

The software can analyze a specific user, their followers or their friends to return a score from one to five. The higher the number, the more likely it is a bot. The lower, the higher the probability that it is human who manages the account.

In-depth data provided by Botometer (Screenshot/Courtesy of the author)

It should be noted that its effectiveness is not infallible; however, it helps locate suspicious accounts quickly and efficiently. In addition, for each user processed, the application provides other details of interest that are useful for finding a more accurate diagnosis.

A CubaNet team tested the followers of Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez’s account (@DiazCanelB), which has more than 723,000 followers in your profile.

Cuban regime keeps its army of bots on Twitter, despite Elon Musk
Bots found on Miguel Díaz-Canel’s Twitter account (Screenshot/Courtesy of the author)

Of the 100 accounts randomly analyzed by the app, about 10 percent looked real, with a Botometer score of 0.4. The others are classified as bots, with a result of almost five points. Within this group, the program detected recently created or inactive accounts. The app provided similar results when we repeated the test.

Other accounts analyzed were those of the spy Gerardo Hernández (@GHNordelo5) —currently “National Coordinator of the CDRs”— and the Communist Party of Cuba (@PartidoPCC). In the first case, out of a hundred followers prosecuted, only three were identified as authentic. The rest showed signs of automation or couldn’t be parsed correctly because they weren’t listed as active or had recently joined Twitter.

Cuban regime keeps its army of bots on Twitter, despite Elon Musk
Bots found in Gerardo Hernández’s Twitter account (Screenshot/Courtesy of the author)

In the case of @PartidoPCC, out of a hundred accounts analyzed, seven obtained a score corresponding to real netizens; while the rest behaved similar to the previous case.

Cuban regime keeps its army of bots on Twitter, despite Elon Musk
Bot or fake account that follows the PCC account (Screenshot/Courtesy of the author)

Some users analyzed in depth showed signs of automation such as posting tweets every day at the same time and have only retweets on your timeline.

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