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How to make money on Internet propaganda.

How to make money on Internet propaganda Security Russian trolls who interfered in U.

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And some trolls used fake accounts to make money, researchers found. The four-story building known as the "troll factory" in St.

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Petersburg, Russia, in The operation by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency amounted to "a vast, coordinated campaign that was incredibly successful at pushing out and amplifying its messages," according to Symantec, which conducted an in-depth analysts of nearly 4, Twitter accounts involved in what U.

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Some of the accounts were set up months in advance. And some of the trolls used their fake accounts to make money on the side, the researchers found. S intelligence agencies assessed that the social media manipulation was part of a Russian intelligence operation designed to undermine American democracy by exacerbating divisions, hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump. Experts say the U. Just last week, a different cybersecurity firm exposed an Iranian effort to manipulate U.

We need tougher action against disinformation and propaganda

The IRA's basic strategy, Symantec found, was to use a small core of Twitter accounts to push out new content. And they harnessed a wider pool of automated accounts to amplify those messages.

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The operation was carefully planned, with accounts often registered months before they were used — well in advance of the U. The average time between account creation and first tweet was days.

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A building that houses the Internet Research Agency, also known as the "troll factory," in St. Petersburg, Russia in Most of them had at least 10, followers but followed substantially fewer accounts.

They were mainly used to publish new tweets.

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This suggests a significant element of advance planning, Symantec said. A much larger pool of auxiliary accounts was used to amplify messages pushed out by the main accounts, many impersonating individuals.

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Auxiliary accounts had less than 10, followers, but often followed more accounts than that. Their main purpose was to retweet messages from other accounts, although they were also used to publish original tweets, researchers found. Among the majority of accounts that were automated, many would frequently show signs of human intervention, such as posting original content or slightly changing the wording of reposted content, presumably in an attempt to make them appear more authentic and reduce the risk of their deletion by Twitter, researchers found.

Some of the fake news accounts were set up to monitor the activity of certain blogs and push new posts to Twitter.

What can I do about "fake news"?

Some of the accounts were using a technique that pushed an ad to whoever clicked on the link, generating money for the account. A handful of of the IRA's Twitter accounts managed to be extraordinarily influential, the researchers found. It appears to have been operated by a person, not a computer. A man holds a smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps Facebook, Instagram and Twitter seen on the screen.

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Its 10, tweets garnered more than 6 million retweets, only a small fraction of which came from other Russian troll accounts. Hi Craig. The figures were intended to be an estimate of the max earning potential as part of a broader analysis of the campaign.

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We've removed the section "Profitable Tweets" while we investigate some additional data. Ben Popken contributed.