Today, we know much more about Russia’s social media disinformation operations than we did in 2017 when we launched the Hamilton 68 dashboard. The dashboard’s summative outputs mirrored criminal complaints and indictments filed by the Special Counsel, the DNI report on Russian activities and intentions in recent elections, and recent reports released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (among others) that demonstrate how the Kremlin infiltrates foreign audiences to undermine Western democracies.
The goal of Hamilton 68 was to raise awareness and inform questions for the larger research community, and we feel that as 2018 closes that the dashboard served its purpose. Hamilton 68 represented just a sample of an influence network compiled over a several year period on a single platform. Since we launched the project in August, 2017, accounts have been shuttered and others have expired, meaning the insights offered by this one network will continue to decline. Meanwhile, Congressional and other investigations have compelled social media companies to release their own data on these operations.
The dashboard was a first step towards countering the Kremlin’s playbook through raising awareness on a single aspect of social media manipulation, and was never meant to be a complete rendering of Russian disinformation. We believe 2019 is the time to update and expand our analysis and information sharing on Russian disinformation.
Friday, December 21 will be the final day for the Hamilton 68 Dashboard, Version 1.0. We’ve learned a good deal about the strengths and weaknesses of the first dashboard, and behind the scenes we’ve been connecting with a talented network of researchers and technologists who have ideas for increasing the effectiveness and outputs of an upcoming second version of the dashboard: Hamilton 68 – 2.0!
Starting in 2019, we will transition to a new interface that will communicate Kremlin information operations in a manner less vulnerable to misinterpretations, with a particular focus on the outputs of overt, Russian state-sponsored social media accounts and websites – reflecting what we believe is an increased role of such accounts in driving narratives (the list of monitored accounts will be available to the public). The new site will incrementally incorporate new functions and visualizations as they come online; always improving, updating, and adapting to the outputs of Putin’s propagandists operating across the entire mainstream and social media ecosystem.
Thanks to all who’ve utilized and supported Hamilton 68 – 1.0. We look forward to 2019 and advancing our collective understanding of the assault on our democracies. Hamilton 68 – 2.0 starts now, and we’ll provide updates and releases throughout the winter and spring of 2019. Happy New Year and stay tuned.
Information Operations Archive
ASD, in partnership with Graphika, has released an early, beta version of the “Information Operations Archive,” a repository of publicly available and attributed data from known Russian and Iranian online information operations on Social Media. The IOA is a central repository for cybersecurity experts, disinformation researchers, academics, and anyone hoping to better understand the mechanics of information operations online today.
Currently, the archive hosts more than 10 million posts connected to Russian and Iranian information operations on Twitter and Reddit, with additional data sets and features to be added shortly. Give it a try — we welcome user feedback!