A troll factory for the good guys

The Brief

Social platforms are overflowing with hate and Twitter is no exception. Everyday women all across the world are harassed, abused and silenced. Together with Amnesty Sweden and our friends at Reform Act, we set out to do something about it.

Fighting fire with fire

Trolls and automatic hate (ro)bots are roaming free on his Twitter even though they are in clear violation of the rules. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, has been looking the other way. We created our own troll factory that, by the click of a button, released bots programmed to stand up for human rights and demanding action from Twitter.

The Result

6 500 swedes clicked the button setting of bots that delivered 50 000 direct messages to @Jack. We got huge media coverage (DN, SvD, Metro, SVT, TV4) and visited the morning TV shows. Internet harassment was on the agenda again.

How to run a troll factory 101

Twitter didn't make it easy for us. Outsmarting automated systems intended to catch malicious accounts proved difficult but not impossible. We took every effort to ensure that the bots didn't break any laws, unlike the trolls which Twitter lets reign free.

Getting technical. At the core of the troll factory was a "headless" web browser, following a randomized program, that registered Twitter accounts. We utilized VPN services and other tools not to leave traces that could be detected. When a bot was born, it said hello to other bots in the network and added some of them as followers. Finally, it tweeted its message to Twitter CEO @Jack.

What it looked like under the hood
Sketches for the Unfluencer webpage
Sketches of the website