The race for congressional representative of the 1st District of Cavite in the Philippines is well stocked with trolls. While analyzing the broader troll activity in the run up to the 2022 election, we stumbled across a fairly obvious group of trolls supporting candidate and Vice Governor Jolo Revilla that also advocate for presidential candidate Bong Bong Marcos.
Their typical troll behavior includes:
- Sharing every Jolo post to their own page, while not sharing any other content to their own page or posting personal content
- Giving a false impression of the popularity of the candidate on social media in several ways:
- Excessively sharing posts of Jolo Revilla campaign content to more than one hundred pages likely created for this purpose with misleading names such as:
- Excessively commenting on posts that the candidate makes, with simple phrases, hashtags, or emojis.
- Creating and sharing posts that attack the candidate’s opponent
- Using a political profile picture frame for Jolo
- Friending up with the other trolls in the Jolo troll network
Their industriousness far exceeds that of an authentic constituent supporter of Jolo Revilla. Are these fake accounts participating in Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior, or could they just be Jolo’s legitimate social media team whose job it is to share his posts?
Consider these facts:
- None of them identify themselves as working for the campaign or being connected to Jolo in any official way.
- They share campaign posts to inappropriate pages.
- They have created pages with misleading names that are meant to attract authentic accounts interested in normal activities, such as “buying or selling,” in the examples above.
- They have created and use “dump pages” that get zero engagement (likes, shares, comments) from anyone. These just serve to make their shares look more legitimate.