Imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana and the twitterbots who loved it



So, was this story as advertised or is it window dressing for a sophisticated bot attack or is it aimed at deflecting interest from an actual ISIS attack in Louisiana? :wink:


Are they in any way related to the astroturfy new account first-posters who always show up to fill the top posts of any thread whenever Snowden, the NSA, or other vital US national interest keywords are mentioned on BB only to dissappear after a few hours of arguing on a single thread?
for example Daniel Ellsberg: If Gen. Petraeus won't serve a day in jail for his leaks, Edward Snowden shouldn't either


One of my favorite tactics. If the sensors are too sensitive and you cannot just hide your signal from them, raise the noise floor.

Reminds me of a deployment of drug sniffer dogs in London(?) buses, to which stoners reacted by contaminating the buses with bong water using water squirt guns.

Or of several kinds of radar jammers…


What these stoners didnt realize was that drug, bomb, kiddie porn, etc police sniff dogs are not trained to sniff and find; they are trained to react when their handler gives a subtle signal. They are like a walking rubber stamp search warrant judge, instant fake probable cause and never a consequence for miserable real world performance. Not unlike dowsing rods or lie detectors, they dont do much except intimidate and with a complex set of magician like manuvers permit the law to be broken or civil rights denied when convenient and still barely stand up to weak judicial scrutiny because they might work sometimes.


I’d reckon there are both kinds of dogs. The real sniffers are much more expensive to train than the pretend ones so will be likely to be deployed where it matters (luggage explosive searches?). The pretend doggies are more likely to be encountered in low-grade stoner annoyance duty.

Also, most likely there is a continuum between the categories. A semicompetent sniffer dog can smell a stinky blunt and not much more, and be trained to also alert on cue.


I’ve been seeing a lot of fake news sites via Google News in the last few months as well. I figured it was just syndication driving spammy ad traffic sites. In the early '00s, there seemed to be a lot of people doing that, including a posse of Dutch teenagers who were each making low 5 figures combined using celeb and sports news, monetizing with Google AdSense.

Here is an example from this morning:

The sites tend to be bare-bones design with interestingly click bait headlines. As if someone is curating them. Some have US addresses claimed or author pages.

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And that the “clever Hans” effect exists even with well trained sniffer dogs…The dog may be picking up cues from his handler about expected drugs that aren’t even conscious on the part of the handler.


Very smart test.

Who the hell would act on a tweet without confirming through other sources? I guess I could understand a few panicked calls to loved ones employed at the plant, but nothing of real impact.

IOW, what was the point of this? Even in order to foment panic and civil unrest, the perpetrators would need to insinuate their bots into a lot more networks than just Twitter and Facebook, all of which would require completely different approaches.

People actually get their news from Twitter? Isn’t that pretty much the equivalent of believing the “I knew the guy’s cousin who (insert horrible/amazing story here)” ? We should question the veracity of every claim that comes from “reputable” news sources, never mind Twitter. If there is a crisis, let those who are trained to do so react and respond accordingly. Once we can verify the details of what, if anything, has happened, then we can react and respond accordingly.

I hear about stuff on Twitter, and I go about corroborating it through polling the usual Big Media sources (not CNN, who, in an apocalypse, would be doing a hard-hitting story about escaped llamas for hours after big rocks started falling from the sky), and for local stories, see if I know someone who’s very local, or at least find a site for a local news outlet. If you follow a diverse enough Twitter crowd, you’d be amazed how easy it is to find someone near even small towns in the West and Midwest!

A few months ago, somebody famous died, someone whose death had been erroneously reported several times in the past, and Twitter ended up being right.

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Whenever I see something like this, I wonder whether somebody is trying to bump the stock market in some way…It doesn’t take much and the money made can be pretty good.

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Citation please. I mean, demean the state all you like, but use facts.

Enough people for this to be interesting.

Death by 1,000 paper cuts?

That depends pretty heavily on who you follow. I get all sorts of news from Twitter and often well before it shows up anywhere else. Of course, I don’t follow some random guy’s cousin’s friend.

This. Twitter is the worst news source or the best news source, depending on who you follow.


Some of my favorite follows are from the old “firehose” days on Twitter. Some random person would post something, I’d follow them, and a lot of them turned out to be very, very good follows. Lately, Twitter seems laden with corporate/PR accounts, one-message (one-trick) ponies, and thinly-disguised spamfarm accounts, so my followers tend to creep up very, very slowly, but with pretty respectable quality. So, if somebody in WV posts pictures from the trail derail, or someone in SoCal reports an earthquake, I tend to trust it if it’s within what I know of their tweet history.

It constantly amazes me how crappy Big Media is on Twitter, for one of two reasons:

  1. Big Media tweets wrong information too quickly, it goes viral because of credulous or casual readers and then has to be dialed back or retracted completely;
  2. Big Media reacts far too slowly and ends up looking dumb because they’re late to a party where everybody already ate all the good snacks, and they show up with generic tortilla chips and lite beer.
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I am sure there are civil liberty sites with plenty of cites, my experience is personal witness, Oregon State Police and several county sheriffs.
When a cop wants into a car he brings the drug dog, walks around car whispering encouraging things, big surprise even if there is nothing there the dog eventually indicates and gets lots of officer fun-time love.
The whole search is based on suspicion that there is drugs, screening for race or subculture, vehicle appearance etc. Profiling works well for busing people, but even if there is nothing the cop will usually cover by saying that there must have been residue.
I can’t say for sure that it is a secret signal to the dog, it looks like it though, an understanding that cop=happy when he indicates in certain learned situations, or if indicating means winning the game.
I also don’t know if it is deliberate ignorance or feigned, but there is much plausible deniability and reality distortion in most police work, drug dogs included. There is a strong incentive for the handlers to act like they belive the woo 100% and there are plenty of circumstances where the dog is actually useful in catching or finding people or stuff obfuscating further.
No cite but if you want to play the game just search for drug dog search videos and see if the cop is using a signal or encouraging language.

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The game where I do your research after a total dodge on your part? No thanks man. Nice chat though.