11 Aug 2023
Oh The Places You'll Guo: Using Media Variants to Trace the Organization and Behavior of an Coordinated Inauthentic Influence Operation
This talk will describe a novel technique that we developed to uncover the organizational structure and behavior of an ongoing coordinated inauthentic influence operation. The novelty of this technique comes from pairing image-search APIs and platform-search APIs with media metadata extraction and hashing. I will describe the technique, illustrate it with a case-study of a prominent pro-PRC influence operator, Dragonbridge, and delineate the advantages and disadvantages of this approach, relative to the more typical methods of discovering and analyzing these operations. The talk will be structured as follows:
I. An introduction to Dragonbridge and their narrative-flooding approach to influence.
a. Targets and Techniques
b. Narrative Flooding
c. Cartoons and animations
II. Image Variants as Data
a. Reverse Search:
- Measuring the spread across sites and platforms
- Using near-match hashing to identify variants
b. Platform Search
- Discriminating between connected accounts and organic spreaders
- Expansion of connected image set: More grist for the mill
c. Metadata as Data
- Tumblr vs. Twitter: Exifs in the wild!
- Homogeneity and Heterogeneity as an indicator of structure
- The holy grail: Lat-Long
III. Advantages of this method of detection, analysis, and attribution
b. Linguistically agnostic
c. Increasingly effective against higher-investment campaigns
d. Complementary to more traditional techniques
IV. Take it to 11!
c. Computer vision