Manipulation attacks are, by and large,
carried out by fake accounts. Fake accounts are social media personas
that have been created to look like real people. In a traditional sense, bots are accounts that are automated in some way. Some fake accounts are automated, but many are actually controlled by real people. Fake accounts can be created and run by troll factories, social media marketing companies, political activists, scammers, or even members of the general public. Many fake accounts engage in trolling. Trolling is the process of posting controversial comments designed to provoke emotional reactions and start fights. Trolling is a highly efficient way to spread rumors and disinformation, alter public opinion, and disrupt meaningful conversation. Trolls often comment on high-profile content on social media. Such comments are designed to fish for angry responses and thus increase engagement for the troll account propagate the viewpoints that the troll wishes to further, or derail an otherwise fruitful conversation. Fake accounts are not easy to spot. Some traits can be useful for determining whether an account might be fake. These can include accounts that post very often or 24 hours a day, very new accounts, accounts with usernames that contain random characters, or usernames with many digits, accounts with no profile picture or bio, or accounts with profile pictures or descriptions, that follow a specific pattern. You may occasionally see a post or thread that angers you enough to want to reply to it. Don’t. You’ll only give the troll engagement and thus visibility, which is what they want. Due to the nature of their aggressive conversational style, it is impossible to win an argument with a troll, and hence the only smart move is not to play. Blocking troll accounts is also highly recommended.