if you think you're seeing a ton of newly created azerbaijani accounts tweeting about #armenia - #azerbaijan rn, that is because, well, there indeed are a ton of newly created accounts

collected these from a bunch of trending pro-azerbaijan hashtags, like #StopArmenianAgression
check @nazr1nn out. created back in march, this account basically hadn't tweeted until today, when it suddenly sent out....


#Armenia #Azerbaijan
there are many, many weird accounts.

mostly don't seem automated, as the world of influence ops has largely moved beyond brute force automated astroturfing.. but here are some particularly high-volume accounts. they average about 200-300 tweets/day - mostly hashtags and RTs
most of the accounts seem to have peaked in activity today. this newly created one, @Gnai58226399, has averaged a cool 727.33 tweets/day this week!!!

not bad for a newbie ;)
they're actually quite subtle 🤨
On July 15 alone, the top 50 accounts tweeting these hashtags generated 25,629 tweets to them combined, an average of ~512 tweets per account.
what we don't know for certain is the extent to which this online activity (specifically the hashtag campaigns/manipulation - not the cyberattacks) is government coordinated or just the expression of a... vibrant online brigading culture. (both?) however...
Azerbaijan has an entrenched state propaganda apparatus & a history of employing computational propaganda for *information control*. A @polbots/ @oiioxford report put Azerbaijan's cybertroop capacity at "medium" - in the same category as India & Pakistan.

According to @polbots, "Medium cyber troop capacity involves teams that have a much more consistent form and strategy, involving fulltime staff members who are employed year-round to control the information space."
(also p.s.: if you want to collect some freely available twitter data for research on your own, you can use the rtweet R package: https://github.com/ropensci/rtweet 

or Twint, a Python tool: https://github.com/twintproject/twint)
You can follow @zkharazian.
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