Bots in telegram. Are they really helping Lukashenka?
We watched those who like and dislike telegram posts and asked a psychologist if it affects the readers / collage by Ulad Rubanau
Here's how 'likes' and 'dislikes' affect the readers.
Likes and dislikes should not be underestimated
"The people who have clear values and position, who watch and read Euroradio, would not have their views changed by likes or dislikes. They will perceive it critically and skeptically - criticizing what the pro-government structures are doing. Those who listen to Lukashenka will take it at face value. It all depends on what beliefs one has".
But, according to Ms Akhremchyk, likes and dislikes should not be underestimated:
"There's a rule of normal distribution in society that fits a lot of processes: about 10-15 percent will be supporters, about 10-15 percent opponents. But this middle part, about 70 percent, will be a conditional swamp. Here it depends on many factors: which way the wind blows, who will say what. These are people who, basically, are controllable, and they can be turned somewhere. This is what robots are designed to do. And they have a good effect".
Ms Akhremchyk reminded us that it is Prigozhin's pro-Putin botfarms that are accused of influencing the 2016 U.S. election.
They are counting on people to go after the opinion of the "majority"
"There's also such a feature of the psyche as conformism and rigidity, which especially increases with age. If young people prefer new things, older people find it more difficult to change their beliefs and, accordingly, they look for confirmation of their already held beliefs. If a person has doubts, but at the age of 40 plus will look at the number of dislikes and confirm their doubts. "Not everything is smooth, not everything in your protest movement is good, I doubted you for a reason."
The psychologist cites the following study as an example of conformism:
"A group of eight subjects were seated together. If seven people say to a white object that it is black, then the eighth's peron, even if they see a white object, after hearing the opinion of the previous ones, agrees that it's 'black'. Simply because they stop trusting their opinion, "Maybe I'm not seeing it right. Maybe the light didn't fall right". That is, they stop trusting even their senses, let alone logic."
The people who run these botfarms are taking advantage of this effect. "They count on people to go after the opinion of the 'majority,'" sums up the psychologist.
Euroradio subscribers, however, are safe. According to our observations, people launching bot attacks work strictly on a schedule. During the working hours, the reaction is possible, but when the cherished 6:00 p.m. comes, that's it.
Also, these SMM amateurs sometimes don't know how to promote their own propaganda narratives. As an example, the recent post about another statement by Lukashenka about how he was "fed up with the presidency". We remembered that similar statements of his are at least 20 years old: "he's had enough, but he can't stop eating".
The bots did not dare to dislike or "poop" their leader, so they gave him "hearts". Nice try at "influencing public opinion." And thanks for the positive emoji.