Birds of a Feather Deceive Together: The Chicanery of Multiplied Metadata

ABSTRACT

New Media conventions have fluttered along unforeseen flight paths. By combining sock-puppetry with the grouping power of metadata it is possible to demonstrate widespread influence through Twitter dispersion. In one nest there is a growing use of sock-puppetry accentuated by the exploitation of a social media that does not attempt to verify proof of identity. Created identities in their thousands can flock towards, and in support of, a single identity. They do so alongside legitimate accounts but in concert remain imperceptible within an overall group. In another nest there is the practise of homophily, captured through metadata, and used to imply connectivity and alliance by means of inference through the informational transfer of ideas through social media. Placed within the same thicket of trees, these nests manipulate authority, drive public opinion, and inflict deception. This study highlights the combination of identity masking, Sybil accounts, and their attraction using analogous attributes from the metadata of tweeted and retweeted narrative. The study examines the ethical, socio-political, and security implications of identity deception from Twitter. Data from the publicly available Twitter accounts of six prominent governmental figures indicates the retention and dispersion of metadata in retweets from their original counterparts. By examining both legitimate and Sybil accounts, we conclude that force-multiplied tweets can deploy homophily-driven influence in order to inaugurate credibility amid fake social media accounts.


AUTHORS

Photo of David Cook

School of Computer and Security Science, and ECU Security Research Institute Edith Cowan University
Australia

David Cook is a researcher in the Edith Cowan University Security Research Institute (ECUSRI) and is also a lecturer in security in the School of Computer and Security Science. He obtained an MBA from Murdoch University and is completing his doctoral studies in e-Governance and Human Computer Interactions. David lecturers in security and specialises in e-Governance, Cyber Ethics, Cyber resilience, Counter Terrorism, Money Laundering, and CIP. David was formerly the Manager of the SECAU Security Research Centre and is currently the Chair of the Australian Computer Society.

Journal of Information Warfare

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.

Quick Links

View the latest issue of JIW.

Latest Edition

Purchase a subscription to JIW.

Subscribe

Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

Quill Logo

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Get in touch

  • Journal of Information Warfare
    114 Ballard Street
    Yorktown, VA
    23690
  • 757.871.3949
  • jiw@gbpts.com