A 2017 paper published out of the University College London discusses the discovery of a large Star Wars Bot Net created in 2013. Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise in 2012.
In the paper, they make the suggestion that 350,000 Star Wars bots are under the control of a “botmaster.”
Their primary function during their active phase was to quote passages from Star Wars novels.
The study then went on to list the identifying characteristics of these bots.
The study claims that the bots created from June 20th, to July 14th in 2013. On the 14th, all the bots ceased activity and were silent up until the publication of this study in 2017.
The study claims that the bots were designed specifically to not be noticed.
The study suggests that the bots were created to be hidden until needed, and that the “botmaster” could reactivate them at a time of their choosing. Such bots would tweet out spam, fake trending topics, opinion manipulation, astroturfing attacks, fake followers, and sample contamination.
Now, this study is hosted by regmedia.co.uk so I can’t know if it’s genuine at this time. I have sent an email to the email address listed above, and will update this blog post if I receive a response.
But if genuine, this does present some interesting questions.
What was happening from June 20th, to July 14th in 2013? According to gradesaver.com, scriptwriting for The Force Awakens began in January of 2013, and was completed by January 2014. So this time frame would have occurred halfway through the screenwriting process.
What happened with the Botnet after 2017? Was it activated?
Was this Botnet designed and waiting to respond to any potential backlash, since the direction of the Disney Trilogy was intentionally “dangerous because it makes it so about the women of Star Wars” as Dave Filoni stated? Were they waiting to manipulate opinion in that event?
Did this Botnet contaminate the samples used by Bethany Lacina in her Twitter research which was used to characterize the “alt-right” as guilty of racist and/or misogynist harassment?
Did this Botnet contaminate the samples in Morten Bay’s study on the politicization of Star Wars fandom and The Last Jedi? Was the BotNet used to harass Kelly Marie Tran as a Huffington Post article suggested?
Did the BotNet contaminate the sample of George McIntire’s article and Corinium’s Disney commissioned study which disproved the “tiny vocal minority” narrative? Did Disney commission Corinium’s study specifically to study the effects of this Botnet?
Could the “botmaster” be Star Wars social media manager Michelle Buchman?
And of course, is this botnet study genuine? There’s simply more questions than answers at this time.
Thanks to globaljustin for the tip.
Originally published here.