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Hanging by a Thread(s) - Digital Threat Digest

PGI’s Digital Investigations Team brings you the Digital Threat Digest, SOCMINT and OSINT insights into disinformation, influence operations, and online harms.

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Last week Meta debuted their new platform Threads, designed to compete with Twitter. Since its launch, over 100 million users have signed up making it the fastest growing app – even overtaking ChatGPT. Creator Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants to prioritise kindness on the platform but far-right figures joining the app have already challenged this by spreading misinformation and hate speech.

Nick Fuentes shared that he made his Threads account using a fake Instagram account, encouraging his followers to do the same and asked followers to redpill other users on the app. Far-right activist Jack Posobiec claimed that the 2020 US election was rigged and shared anti-transgender and immigrant rhetoric. News outlets such as the Gateway Pundit and Breitbart News as well as Steve Bannon’s podcast, War Room have also joined the app. These are just examples of the growing list of threat actor behaviour that has already been identified, less than one week since the app was launched.

A new social media platform provides new attack surfaces for OSINT investigators to delve into, a new API to parse and new behaviours to observe. While this is interesting, it can invite more questions, anxiety and fear of harmful behaviours being present on yet another social media platform and how such behaviour will be moderated. One must ask if it is even possible to create a social media platform that is run through kindness in this time of hate speech, misinformation and growing polarisation.

This app was designed as another option for users who have become unhappy with Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Since the launch of Threads, Twitter has threatened legal action and accused Meta of using Twitter’s trade secrets and intellectual property. Numerous reports have shown a decrease in Twitter traffic following the launch of Threads – but how long can this competition be maintained? And what does this mean for Twitter?

It has yet to be seen how this new application will impact the status quo – in terms of misinformation and competition. Will Twitter see a descend even further into chaos? Will Threads become the shiny new thing for threat actors to exploit? While it is exciting for a new application to enter the information environment, at a time where all platforms are struggling to contain harmful behaviours, I can’t help but feel nervous as to how Threads will develop in the coming months.

More about Protection Group International's Digital Investigations

Our Digital Investigations Analysts combine modern exploitative technology with deep human analytical expertise that covers the social media platforms themselves and the behaviours and the intents of those who use them. Our experienced analyst team have a deep understanding of how various threat groups use social media and follow a three-pronged approach focused on content, behaviour and infrastructure to assess and substantiate threat landscapes.

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