Why Russian Trolls Are Not Trolls

We are in Cold War 2.0. We enter the battlefield every time we log into one of our social media accounts.The Russians have weaponized our own innovations for communication against us. This is a carefully orchestrated military campaign against America.

Cyberspace is now considered the 4th theatre of warfare. Putin has, to put it mildly, embraced this.

Recently, when I posted a link outing two Russian “troll” accounts a friend commented how irresponsible it is to call them trolls as they are well-trained Russian agents. He is right.

Trolls are amateurs who are abusive online for sport. Amateur meaning unpaid. They are generally expert at being obnoxious.

The Russian “troll” accounts are part of Putin’s cyber military strategy. They are his cyber soldiers. They are trained. They are paid. They are utilized in coördinated campaigns in the cyber arena the way conventional troops are used in conventional arenas of air, land and sea. (You can watch the daily campaigns unfold on the Hamilton 68 dashboard)

Samantha Bee sat down with two such Russian agents back in 2016.

(Video NSFW Warning: Language)

The Russian efforts crept up on us like a silent fog. We naturally sorted the players and activities into our already established labels.

Now we know better.

In the war of disinformation words matter.

From now on when you see the phrase “Russian troll” think “Russian agent”. When discussing these actors refer to them as agents. Explain to others why you are doing so.

Related Links:

New York Times Article: The Agency referenced in the video and excellent explanation of the Russian agency dedicated to the cyber arm of their hybrid warfare efforts.

The Philly Inquirer: Two Popular Conservative Twitter Accounts Outed as Russian Trolls  (Agents)

Hamilton 68: The dashboard tracking Russian bot activity

photo: flickr (modified)