Socio-Linguistic Characteristics of Coordinated Inauthentic Accounts

Keith Burghardt, Ashwin Rao, Siyi Guo, Zihao He, Georgios Chochlakis, Baruah Sabyasachee, Andrew Rojecki, Shri Narayanan, Kristina Lerman

Online manipulation is a pressing concern for democracies, but the actions and strategies of coordinated inauthentic accounts, which have been used to interfere in elections, are not well understood. We analyze a five million-tweet multilingual dataset related to the 2017 French presidential election, when a major information campaign led by Russia called "#MacronLeaks" took place. We utilize heuristics to identify coordinated inauthentic accounts and detect attitudes, concerns and emotions within their tweets, collectively known as socio-linguistic characteristics. We find that coordinated accounts retweet other coordinated accounts far more than expected by chance, while being exceptionally active just before the second round of voting. Concurrently, socio-linguistic characteristics reveal that coordinated accounts share tweets promoting a candidate at three times the rate of non-coordinated accounts. Coordinated account tactics also varied in time to reflect news events and rounds of voting. Our analysis highlights the utility of socio-linguistic characteristics to inform researchers about tactics of coordinated accounts and how these may feed into online social manipulation.

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