11:09 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Sputnik's Popularity Balloons With Rise of Parody Accounts

    © AFP 2019 / JONATHAN ALCORN
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    Although higher-grade "comedy" would be appreciated, it appears that Sputnik has gained a following from the Internet troll crowd.

    In what could be testament to the growing popularity of this website, Sputnik nevertheless attracted not one, but several parody accounts.

    Unfortunately for the people running it, the account violated Twitter's impersonation guidelines and was deleted, although a new one soon popped up.

    Although initial suspicions were that the account was being run by a competing media outlet or an agenda-driven pundit, which could have created a potentially embarrassing situation. Reality was, as usual, a little more boring. This was about sucking up to the "greats" of anti-Russian propaganda, not creating something potentially new and insightful, as Twitter comedians and satirists have done to break out.

    Out of genuine curiosity, we here at Sputnik decided to carry out one of those "open source investigations" employing "digital forensics" to find out, with varying degrees of certainty, who is behind the account.

    The preliminary results turned out to be pretty uninteresting: an American expatriate in Kiev, who also has some sort of vendetta against Russia's president; a Finnish systems administrator, who has too much free time at the community college where he is employed; a Russian blogger, who in the recent past was involved in the killing and dismemberment of cats.

    It may seem like a worthwhile pursuit for three strangers, bored on the Internet, to entertain pundits, in essence becoming a second-rate version of them. Let's hope that they learn the rules on trademarks and impersonation, or at least gain aspirations to go beyond small-time Internet fame.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    troll, investigation, Twitter, Sputnik, Russia
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