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Has Anyone Been Paid to Promote "Fake News" for Russia?

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by Dindu_Nuffins, Feb 21, 2017.

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  1. Dindu_Nuffins

    Dindu_Nuffins Newbie

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    I have a good mix for this kind of thing. A dab of politics and a dab of SEO. Not enough knowledge to be considered "pro" in either area, but enough to add a few things together.

    For months they've been talking about how Russia "hacked" the election, and at the time it was left undefined (the word "hack") so you could believe that Russia hacked into the voting machines and the computers and jiggered the votes. But then they said that never happened, but still all the Intelligence agencies insist that the Russian's "hacked" the election.

    My personal experience was that it seemed that Twitter had a lot, and I mean a LOT of accounts that seemed to exist for the singular purpose of promoting one candidate over another. And my friend thinks that the "hacking" that Russia did was to hire operatives to work Twitter in a cooperative manner so that one candidate had a larger presence on Twitter than they would have had otherwise. These twitter accounts would "amplify" this candidate's message. So I've been waiting around for the CIA, or the NSA to make some kind of public announcement that this was what they meant by Russian "hacking", but they haven't done it. Yet.

    But today on the news I started, you know, sort of "reading between the lines" in the way that the talking heads were phrasing things while dancing around the idea of "hacking", and I got the idea that the "hacking" might have been something else. Some kind of Black Hat "hacking" where (maybe) certain news outlets, pages, stories, etc... got listed higher in Google's Search than they otherwise would have.

    Maybe the Russians hired Black Hat SEO guys to get certain articles that made one candidate look good, or the other candidate bad. Maybe the reason why CNN and the Jew York Times are butthurt is because someone gamed the Google algorithm such that news outlets like Russia Today or Al Jazeera got their pro-candidate X stories listed higher than CNN's pro-candidate Y stories.

    So, I'm asking. Has anyone here been hired to promote political news stories? The type of SEO work where the SEO doesn't get paid by the click, or the conversion, but more than likely a flat rate, or whatever. Up to this point, I would have assumed that news stories would not be a monetarily competitive environment so the level of SEO "gaming" would have been ZERO, but if a foreign government was willing to PAY to game the algorithm, maybe for the first time ever, then it might have been WILDLY SUCCESSFUL (since no one else was doing it) and also it might have pissed-off the CIA, NSA, etc... enough that they would all cry and call it "hacking" in order to get the public to hate whoever it was that did it and caused the butthurt (but they are really pissed that someone else did it and not them first).

    Like, for example, I once saw a website hit #1 in the local search results ONLY because of a single post on a forum, but that post had about 100,000 tweets linking to it. I wonder if the same could be done to a news article.

    So. Anyone?

    election_doll.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  2. kickthat

    kickthat Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Do you think that if anyone had done this they would now own up to it?
     
  3. customerblast

    customerblast BANNED BANNED

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    I'm sure people are often paid to promote news stories fake or otherwise
     
  4. MusicMedia88

    MusicMedia88 Junior Member

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    Yes, Putin paid me to tweet

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. yugejackpots

    yugejackpots BANNED BANNED

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    I wouldn't doubt it, the other side is so insane lately that everything is Putin Hitler Nazi blah blah racist bigot blah, either people are paid to repeat this nonsense or they're just mentally challenged. I'm sure it's a mix of both.
     
  6. Capo Dei Capi

    Capo Dei Capi BANNED BANNED

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    Russian based news companies such as RT,Sputnik, and Pravda are among the best in the world and are never biased.
     
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  7. NicholasVegas

    NicholasVegas Regular Member

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    You don't believe in the "Russian Hacking Story"? Too bad this meme beat you to it:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. seoguy81

    seoguy81 Senior Member

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    Even if someone was hired, chances are they are/were just a small piece to the puzzle with seo tasks given in an isolated/need-to-know basis.
     
  9. VegaNapalm

    VegaNapalm Newbie

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    Botnets spreading fake stories.... plausible deniability because the they're bots, not people. The person controlling/setting up the botnet .... its implausible that individual would ever come forward.

    And even then, a botnet could disseminate stories, and leave the rest up to the nature of those who identify politically as "conservatives".

    I recall seeing a study, and a video where people tried and succeeded in replicating that same study on the decisionmaking of conservatives vs liberals.

    Conservatives, by definition, tend to defer and believe "authority figures", be they actual people/institutions, or merely things that appeared to be, or promoted themselves as "authority figures" whether they actually were or not. The conservative trend is to appeal to "tradition", real or those that 'appear real' to the individual, regardless of culture or location. So, given an article from a website that looks/appears to be an "authority" on something, conservatives are vastly more likely than those who identify as 'liberals' to believe it is true. They are also more likely to reference a source (specifically a small number of familiar sources) when confronted with a statement challenging their beliefs, rather than refer to logic. Conservatives are more likely to "click" on false news stories without questioning them before sharing them.

    Liberals (and to an extent, libertarians by the American understanding of the phrase), by definition, tend to take a more broad and inclusive view of things. They're less likely to defer to authority, and more likely to question "authority figures" real or 'appearing to be real.' When confronted with a statement challenging their beliefs, they were more likely to use a discussion, logic, and a wider variety of resources from both familiar and unfamiliar sources when challenged.

    I think the Russian hacking of the election was a very smart application of the false dichotomy of "nature vs nurture." The "nurture" part came in the form of using botnets to disseminate links to false authority sources/accounts/content to a predominantly conservative audience, and from there sat back and allowed the core "nature" of conservatives to take over from there.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  10. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    The people behind this are all in shallow graves in Serbia.
     
  11. BharaTV

    BharaTV BANNED BANNED

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    LOL internet more powerfull than massmedia ?Yeah i guess we will find some idiots beliving in that
     
  12. VegaNapalm

    VegaNapalm Newbie

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    I think newspapers said the same thing about TV. "Whaaat? The pictures on the TV more powerful than the newspapers? PPffft "

    And before that, the clergy said the same thing about people learning to read and the dissemination of Gutenberg's printing press. "Whaaat? Common folk learning to read? And not hearing our clergy read the Bible to them at Church? And reading things other than the Bible? Pffft. Also, kill them! And destroy their machines!"
     
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  13. FA925

    FA925 Power Member

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    stop watching cnn derp
     
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  14. NicholasVegas

    NicholasVegas Regular Member

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    I'm pretty sure you meant Siberia.
    You probably don't even know the difference between Serbia and Siberia.
     
  15. Coal Trane

    Coal Trane Newbie

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    I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure that they did explain what they meant with the hack thing. They didn't say Russians hacked the voting machines, but a bit before the election some confidential emails from key members of the democrat party were leaked by Wikileaks, and this supposedly influenced the election. I think the CIA was accusing Russia of being behind that hack, which helped Trump to get elected by underming the credibility of the Democrats.

    "In case you have been living under an impenetrable stack of granite for the past few days, allow me to reiterate the events surrounding this massive conspiracy to you. In July 2016, infamous conspiracy news resource https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/ published a series of confidential emails exchanged between several key members of the Democratic National Committee, emails supposedly leaked via an anonymous source. These emails, among other things, included the DNC's off-the-record correspondences with the media, severe derision of the Bernie Sanders campaign by some key members of the Democratic Party and highly sensitive financial information concerning high-profile donors in the Clinton campaign. The release of these highly confidential exchanges positioned the Democratic Party under a light so controversial that it caused the organization to call for the resignation of DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, CEO Amy Dacey, CFO Brad Marshall, and Communications Director Luis Miranda. Needless to say that after a breach so catastrophic, the DNC was left reeling from the effects of this attack for the majority of the 2016 Presidential Election."
    This is a part of this article : http://www.forbes.com/sites/haroldstark/2017/01/24/how-russia-hacked-the-election/#7ee056e61b2d

    I think the fake news stories probably did have some influence on the election but they're not considered as hacks. In the worst case they're considered as propaganda but I think a lot of people (including people on this forum) promoted stories just to make money for themselves and without being payed by anyone.
    I also can't imagine the Russian government needing to hire freelance SEO's from the internet. If they did actually promote news stories outside of social media they probably have their own inhouse SEO's.
     
  16. Alchemizt

    Alchemizt Regular Member

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    It's called social engineering and it's been going on for quite some time I suspect. Newspaper, radio, television and now the new battlefield is the interwebs. It's been going on forever, only now it's a global virtual battlefield and the generals can reach into enemy territory at will. The difference now is that more people are becoming aware of it.
     
  17. BloodyNinja

    BloodyNinja Power Member

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    One thing is for sure: you won't find the truth in that mess. We can just speculate what has happened. Never believe any of the sides until you see an undeniable proof. Even in this case, remain open-minded but skeptical.

    They might be just trying to find an excuse why democrats have shitted their pants. Or might not be. Who the fuck knows.

    (that said, I saw an extremely sharp spike in Multiloginapp sales just a couple months before the election)
     
  18. hacko

    hacko Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Lol ok. Defending your beliefs is a basic human behavior because otherwise one's ego and view of reality get shattered. Both sides won't accept shit (fuck off with your logic shit, that's still your subjective point of view that you're calling "logic") when it's questioning their point of view.

    Like anyone's ever changed someone's political opinion by using logic.
     
  19. VegaNapalm

    VegaNapalm Newbie

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    You're sort of right. I should have summarized the conclusion from both the original study and the results of the people who re-created the study to verify--

    In both groups, most participants responded that they stuck with their original assessments of the statements that were challenged, even in the face of obvious incontrovertible facts that proved the original assessment was inorrect -- Conservatives - ~ 80%, Liberals ~70% . The study basically proved that political beliefs are closer in nature to a 'religion' than a rational pattern of thought & logical assessment.

    Maybe one group than the other was more prone to research and check their beliefs, but I personally am unsure if this is a result of the political belief system itself OR if it's more about the person likely to be in that camp.
     
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  20. Skyebug77

    Skyebug77 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Im following this thread just to see how long it stays up before getting deleted.
     
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