Chloe Evans: Fear Monger
Hundreds of Russian Twitter accounts like Chloe were active throughout 2014 and 2015. They were identified by Twitter in 2017 as originating from the Internet Research Agency (IRA) in Saint Petersburg. These were an early, highly automated effort by the IRA. Unfortunately, the agency has gotten much, much better at its job.
Early IRA accounts like Chloe pushed hoax events that never happened. These included an Ebola outbreak in Atlanta, Georgia; Salmonella-infected Thanksgiving turkeys sold in Upstate New York Walmarts; and, as in the case of Chloe, a chemical explosion killing horses in Centerville, Louisiana.
These accounts used stolen images and doctored graphics to persuade users that the world is a dangerous place. Much like Chloe, they typically used profile images of attractive young women. This is a common tactic of internet charlatans; trolls and bots sell disinformation in the same way advertisers sell their products. Trolls practice marketing, not spycraft.
It’s important to note troll accounts are typically run by real humans. These early Russian hoax accounts, however, spent much (but not all) of their life automated by a computer program. Social media accounts run by a computer are called bots. As demonstrated by Chloe, these particular accounts were programmed to post famous quotes and song lyrics in an attempt to appear human and gain followers.
Fortunately, these early efforts by the Internet Research Agency were not effective, and few people took these hoaxes seriously.