FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Vicious Cyber-War Against Venezuela

Havana.

The psychological warfare being waged by the oligarchic opposition in Venezuela –following the strategic and tactical objectives of US imperialism– has strong support in a well-organized Twitter operation that promotes protests from the Miami-based DolarToday platform. This is described in a research article published by the well-known specialist Erin Gallagher.

DolarToday is a US website based in Miami that, according to Wikipedia, “is more known for being an exchange rate reference to the Venezuelan bolivar” and “monitoring the Venezuelan economy.”

Currently, with no other reliable source other than the black market exchange rates, these rates are used by ReutersCNBC, and several media news agencies and networks.

The Economist states in its defense that the rates calculated by DolarToday are “erratic”, but that they are “more realistic than the three official rates” released by the Venezuelan government. It maintains that it is not true that the rates published by DolarToday are manipulated in order to undercut the Venezuelan government.

The DolarToday website has been denounced by the Venezuelan State for setting a parallel dollar artificial price marker (black market). It has also been the target of a lawsuit by the Central Bank of Venezuela for falsifying the country’s exchange rates.

In 2013, President Maduro accused the website of “fueling an economic war against his government, and manipulating the exchange rate.”

“DolarToday is also promoting opposition protests in Venezuela. Its tweets are being boosted by automated accounts that exhibit repetitive, bot-like characteristics and are using a social media management tool called IFTTT (If This Then That) to automate their tweets”, says Erin Gallagher.

“What immediately caught my attention in the #TeamHDP hashtag data were the shared networks between the influencers (real persons of high credibility),” explained the specialist.

Trolls and bots carry out coordinated attacks to create false trends, congest or disrupt networks, and disseminate misinformation. Sometimes they succeed having a respected media –by neglect or mistake– disseminate their fake information and misleading headlines.

“Bots” are automated systems or programs –that can be run on home computers or on sophisticated servers—which use non-existent Twitter accounts to repeat a certain phrase hundreds or thousands of times. Thus they can turn those phrases into “trends”; that is to make them appear among the 10 or 20 topics that Twitter considers the subjects most discussed in recent hours.

Bot experts disguise themselves as “digital marketing companies”,create dozens or hundreds of fake Twitter accounts, and then use “bots” so that these accounts simultaneously tweet certain content, including headlines from news sites.

Because many journalists in the print media, radio and television use Twitter trends to determine what topics to deal with in their media, whoever dominates Twitter trends can get to determine the topics most talked about in the country’s media.

Gallagher says it is relatively easy to discover the use of these systems: when you enter a tag on Twitter and then click “Most Recent”, you will notice that there are hundreds or thousands of accounts tweeting exactly the same phrase.

This is not the first time robotic cyber actions have been observed in Venezuelan networks. Mexican researchers from the platform “LoQueSigue” used, in 2014, bots with the hashtag #PrayForVenezuela, which denounced “the violence, the repression and the supposed “censorship” of the protests in Venezuela,” which became a worldwide trend.

In addition, NoBotsPolitico of Spain documented fake accounts that supported the protests in Venezuela until June 2014, then remained silent for eight months, but went back to tweeting propaganda against Podemos in hashtags related to the 2015 elections in Spain.

Bloomberg published a feature on an investigation of March 2016 titled “How to Hack an Election” about the Colombian hacker Andrés Sepulveda, who worked with a team of hackers to manipulate information about the elections in Latin America. Sepulveda is currently serving 10 years in prison for crimes such as abusive access to computer networks, violation of personal data, espionage, and the use of malicious software during the 2014 election in Colombia.

It is not difficult to guess who controls the automated accounts that support #TeamHDP. The counterrevolution will someday have to answer for so much crime against the Venezuelan people.

More articles by:

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail