Social media analysis group Graphika has published a report now exposing a small network of 14 Twitter accounts that engaged in a coordinated marketing campaign to criticize the Belgian government’s prepare to ban Huawei from giving 5G equipment to nearby telecommunications suppliers.
The accounts applied fake names and posed as Belgium-based tech and 5G gurus. They also made use of profile visuals generated using equipment learning GAN algorithms, a system that is gaining traction with more and extra social media impact networks.
In a 33-website page report [PDF] published nowadays, Graphika scientists said the accounts expended their time retweeting material from common accounts and mixing it with their possess tweets that attacked the Belgian government’s decision to ban “substantial-threat” companies from its national 5G network, together with tweets that praised Huawei as a dependable trader and husband or wife.
These tweets would frequently website link to articles sponsored by Huawei itself, article content from information organizations registered at non-present addresses, or content with the identical text and headline but hosted across several newly-registered information sites and weblogs.
Some of the most frequent resources were being domains like london-globe.com, newyorkglobe.co, toplinenews.eu, and eureporter.co.
Graphika scientists mentioned that when past Twitter botnets labored in an automatic style, this scaled-down network appeared to have been manually operated, with all tweets becoming hand-published for each individual of the 14 accounts.
But even with the smaller amount of accounts that were element of this botnet, tweets have been frequently amplified by other accounts, including what appeared to be a next network of Twitter bots.
“These were created in batches and showcased a “home fashion” of pics of primarily Western women, and handles that consisted of 7 letters followed by 8 figures,” Graphica scientists reported.
This marketing campaign focusing on the Belgian governing administration did not go unnoticed and many Belgian tech and federal government personnel also recognizing it on their personal very last month.
All in all, Graphika did not precisely conclude that any of the 14 accounts ended up controlled by Huawei or a associated entity, leaving this concern unanswered.
Nonetheless, Graphika observed that some Huawei staff members in Western Europe had generally retweeted some of this bot network’s material.
All 14 Twitter accounts have now been suspended.