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What is Big Coordination?

Detecting unnatural regularities in data at scale

Sophisticated adversaries frequently alter multiple aspects of their behavior to avoid detection. We approach this by mathematically modeling as many different characteristics of online behavior as possible, constructing as high dimensional a model as possible. This allows us to account for the dynamic nature of adversarial tactics, as they cannot consistently change all aspects simultaneously.

While our components do use ML when it is appropriate, we do not overuse it. For example, it is not generally suitable for rapidly evolving “arms race” scenarios, or those in which data is sparse.  We prefer instead to study a problem in the field, from a number of different angles, and only then determine the best mathematical expressions for it. These include:

Different types of lattices / lattice theory
Sheaf theory and category theory
Graph homology / cohomology

We likewise often develop our own algorithms to best detect specific phenomena of interest.

The most critical features involve evidence of coordination among different, apparently unrelated identities. The presence of such coordination directly implies something not above board. Most importantly, it is an objective measure that applies everywhere. Our technology has been proven in contexts as varied as detecting membership in violent street gangs in Detroit to large corporations posting positive phony employee reviews on career websites.

Our model avoids the increasingly insidious trap of trying to arbitrate ground truth. Instead, it focuses on capturing totally objective artifactual aspects of online behavior such as patterns of coordination among accounts, suspicious co-temporal characteristics, repetitions of unusually consistent dialog, anomalously constructed social network structures, and so on. In this way, our analytics remain free from political or other biases that are unavoidably inserted as a result of the subjective annotation of training sets – or that slip in based on easily gamed things like crowd-sourcing knowledge.