New Tool Tracks Alleged Russian Information Ops in Near-Real Time

A group of researchers recently launched an online tool that they say is designed to identify and track Russian propaganda and disinformation campaigns in near-real time through social media.

The tool, dubbed Hamilton 68 and launched Tuesday, was created by researchers at the Alliance for Securing Democracy and monitors hundreds of social media accounts that the researchers say are known or suspected to be linked to Russian propaganda efforts or believed to reliably take pro-Russia stances. The tool then displays “the themes that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is promoting to Americans in pursuit of his foreign policy objectives.”

While not a definitive grouping, the account sample used for Hamilton 68 is “representative” of efforts aimed at an American audience, the researchers say.

“Our objective in providing this dashboard is to help ordinary people, journalists, and other analysts identify Russian messaging themes and detect active disinformation or attack campaigns as soon as they begin,” says a blog post about the project by Alliance for Securing Democracy fellows Laura Rosenberger and J.M. Berger. “Exposing these messages will make information consumers more resilient and reduce the effectiveness of Russia’s attempts to influence Americans’ thinking, and deter this activity in the future by making it less effective.”

Hamilton 68 is a reference to the Hamilton-authored Federalist Paper 68, in which the Founding Father warns about attempts by foreign powers to interfere in American democracy.

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