Lee Ferran is an award-winning investigative journalist focusing on foreign affairs,

national security and cyber security.


@leeferran |

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In Social Media ‘Arms Race,’ Tech Giants Chase Evolving Trolls and Bots

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In Darwinian fashion, some online trolls and bots have evolved into more sophisticated, stealthy threats that social media companies and security researchers are finding more difficult to spot, according to a top Facebook security official and several information operations experts.

While algorithms and human investigators catch millions of inauthentic social media accounts every day, more sophisticated actors constantly alter their schemes in an attempt to duck the newest security innovations.

It’s a cat-and-mouse game playing out behind our digital screens that information operations expert Renee DiResta, director of research at the Austin, Texas-based cybersecurity firm New Knowledge, doesn’t see stopping anytime soon.

“So now the people at the first line of defense are the people at the tech platforms and what they’re going to find is as they change the state of play, as they change the rules a little bit, the adversary is going to evolve and respond,” said DiResta. “This is going to be an arms race that’s going to play out kind of for the indefinite future.”