About the quiz and its content

A troll is an inauthentic social media account. Often created to spread misinformation and distrust, trolls have been deployed on every major social media platform. This quiz tests users’ ability to identify which accounts are genuine and which are professional trolls. Along the way, advice is provided for what to look for and how to be a better consumer and producer of social media.

The quiz presents users with 8 profiles, each of which includes both profile information and a brief selection of posts from a single social media account. The user is asked to decide if the content comes from an authentic account or a professional troll. Each question is followed by some tips that might help in the future, as well as the opportunity to explore more details.

There are a number of well-known tactics employed by bots and trolls on social media you may have seen in the past. These include unsolicited messages, hyper-active accounts, accounts with no profile image, accounts with stolen profile images, or computer generated account names. While some of the troll accounts we discuss in the quiz used these tactics, they are not the focus of what we cover.

All of the accounts and posts used in this quiz, both the genuine accounts and the trolls, have been taken directly from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Nothing has been changed.

While fake accounts are created for a variety of reasons, the troll accounts and posts in this quiz have all been linked to Vladimir Putin’s troll factory, the Internet Research Agency, based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Many foreign and domestic actors, however, have learned from the Russians and have begun to use some of their tactics. These include operations in Iran, China, and around the globe. Learning to understand Russian trolls will help you understand others.

Ready to take the quiz? Click below to get started.


Special thanks to all those who made this quiz possible.

The Clemson University family

The Watt Family Innovation Center

Clarke Scott Creative

The kind, genuine social media users who gave us permission to use their profiles for this quiz.

And of course the many researchers, public servants, and journalists working hard to combat disinformation

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Interactive Knowledge is an award-winning design firm that creates interactive media for top museums, foundations, and cultural and educational institutions.


Contact the quiz's creators with any questions:

Darren L. Linvill: darrenl@clemson.edu
Patrick L. Warren: pwarren@clemson.edu Twitter logo

Click here to check out the work of the Clemson University Media Forensics Hub.