Twitter suspends ‘Dracula’ botnet pushing pro-Chinese propaganda

Twitter has suspended or restricted nearly all 3,000 accounts linked to a “Dracula” botnet pushing pro-Chinese political propaganda.

The network of fake Twitter accounts was first flagged by Graphika, a social media research group.

The “Dracula” botnet accounts were so named because each account used quotes from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel for its description and first two tweets.

The group said the operation only managed to amass about 3,000 accounts and the oldest one dated back to no further than a month ago.

Ben Nimmo who reported on the botnet account in a blog post from Graphika said the botnet has been taken down since August 20.

Nimmo said Twitter has taken down most of the “Dracula” accounts and restricted others from posting new content. It was unclear if the botnets were suspended by Twitter’s algorithm or the social media giant manually intervened.

Nimmo said the amplification was unlikely to have reached authentic users, but “they highlight the way in which fake accounts, spam and influence operations overlap and reinforce one another.”

“Fake accounts such as these are the plankton in the disinformation sea: they appear insignificant individually, but they can feed larger, more sophisticated operations,” Nimmo wrote. “they can also reveal them, if a set of unauthentic accounts providing commercial amplification suddenly turns to geopolitical themes.”

Graphika has previously exposed Twitter botnet accounts promoting pro-Beijing propaganda.