Building a botnet, a network of automated social media accounts used to spread disinformation, is cheap. A few hundred US dollars is all it costs to create a Twitter bot army.
An investigation by The Daily Beast reveals that 1,000 Twitter accounts can be bought for as little as $45 on Russian-language websites. To turn the accounts into a full-fledged botnet, owners need proxies – a web of servers to command the tweets simultaneously while avoiding being blocked by Twitter. According to The Daily Beast, a Russian underground site offers between 25,000 and 45,000 proxies for as little as $100 a week.
Read the full investigation here.
Further reading on trolls, bots, and cyber manipulation.