The main goal of the project is to identify sources of manipulation in the new media space and to isolate them. The TROLLESS app helps tracking down false profiles with suspect/trolling activity in Facebook and related platforms, such as: promotion of certain interests, parties, ideas, causes, disinformation, manipulation, distraction of attention, use of hate speech. TROLLESS allows reporting such users, so that the entire community be warned about the activity of these profiles. Netizens say that the need in such a tool has become stringent.
“In the light of the latest developments online, especially related to Facebook and comments on news websites, the need in such a tool has become stringent, as the public opinion is manipulated by people with false identities (usually stolen from VKontakte social network), who do propaganda for the current government. So, to see, among even dozens of manipulating comments sometimes, the difference between them and real people would be really useful, and it is the goal of this plugin,” Dmitrii Ciumac told media-zi.md.
Another netizen, Mariana Colun, says: “It is no longer news that different political forces use trolls to promote certain ideas, fight opponents’ arguments, create the illusion of a large number of supporters. This resource is relatively new, so only some of those who interact with trolls realize who they actually debate with. It is sad to see how real people confront false profiles, created by stealth of photos from people abroad. Some even create entire virtual lives, obviously inexistent, get married and even have kids, and all that only to make the impression of a normal reality. Since we are at the time of an election campaign, trolls became more active, aggressive and clearly dangerous. That makes the Trolless app even more necessary, as it identifies and unmasks them. It is like paint on the face that you can’t wash off. Now, the most important thing is for as many people as possible to know about this tool, so that they can protect themselves and stay away from the toxic discourses of paid manipulators.”
The app can be downloaded here, and to facilitate installation, the team made a video tutorial with steps to make in order to efficiently use this tool. Users who have difficulties or suggestions for the implementation team can contact them of Facebook.
The second “The Fifth Power” Media Hackathon has been realized as part of the “Strengthening Freedom of Expression in Moldova” project implemented by the Independent Journalism Center with the support of Deutsche Welle Academie and funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany.