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Russian Troll Factory Alum Selling Social Media Mobs for $299 a Month
An email address buried in the latest indictment from Robert Mueller reveals a new service for gaming social networks. A Daily Beast exclusive.
Ever wished your personal or corporate Facebook account had the same polish and verve as the legion of fake accounts created by Russia’s election trolls? Then here’s good news. The newly indicted Internet Research Agency, or a former worker at the St. Petersburg troll factory, may be getting into the social media management business.
Working backwards from information in Robert Mueller’s new indictment, The Daily Beast discovered a website called YourDigitalFace.com which offers a service eerily similar to the IRA’s specialty: creating and voicing social media accounts under any persona needed.
For as little as $299 a month, YourDigitalFace will “create your new digital face which sells,” reads the pitch on the site. They’ll set you up on Instagram and write at least two custom posts a day, as well as handle all the little finesses that lead to a big social media following, like deploying hashtags and liking your followers. You’re guaranteed a minimum of 1,000 new followers a month.
The website includes a “portfolio” of satisfied customers, comprised of screenshots from three Instagram accounts that each boast between 50 thousand and 180 thousand followers. Those accounts—“afrokingdom_,” “_black_business,” and “american.veterans”—were all identified in October as false front accounts created by the Internet Research Agency.
If you prefer to be huge on Twitter or Facebook, rather than Instagram, YourDigitalFace urges you to contact an email address at DigitalFaceLab.com. Registration records show this domain was registered at around the same time using the name “Jennifer Young,” with a fake phone number and a nonexistent street address in Des Moines, Iowa. The email address used in the registration was “[email protected]”
That email address is buried in Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals connected to the Kremlin’s election interference campaign. It’s one of 13 listed webmail addresses the Russians used to open PayPal accounts linked to fraudulent bank accounts.
An email inquiry to the wemakeweather address bounced on Friday.
The YourDigitalFace.com domain was registered anonymously in May of 2017, but available caches and archives of the site only go back as far as last month, which leaves open the possibility that some prankster included the Russian pages as a gag after they were public. But there was no public connection between DigitalFaceLab.com and the Russians prior to the indictment being unsealed. Hours later, the nine-month-old domain name was abruptly canceled.