This entry was posted on
Monday, July 16th, 2012 at
3:20 pm and is filed
under Old Media, Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: 2014 post detailing how Dennis Rice reacted to the evidence that he was the author of ‘@tabloidtroll’
A few months ago, I asked Dennis Rice if he was the person behind @tabloidtroll, a twitter account used to smear a range of witnesses to the Leveson Inquiry.
His response was to deny the allegation, but leave room for some kind of technical/distant association with the account. Just in case.
However… before I asked Dennis Rice about this allegation via email, a DM was sent to the account @tabloidtroll; the recipient of that message (i.e. the account holder) then followed a unique link in that message, and even replied to the DM indicating he had done so. An IP address was recorded during that procedure.
Minutes later, when Dennis Rice replied to my question about allegations, he revealed the IP address he was using to access the internets at that same time
The account holder of @tabloidtroll had precisely the same IP address as that used by Dennis Rice to reply to my email.
I am not inclined to reference/reveal any potentially sensitive data/details, but I can assure you that the odds of these IP addresses being identical by chance are very, very, very, very long.
Dennis Rice responded to this by making false/misleading claims to and on behalf of Thames Valley Police in an attempt to portray my actions/questions as criminal (while simultaneously denying the significance of the evidence and sometimes even demanding that I publish the same evidence that he elsewhere accused me of sharing inappropriately).
Thames Valley Police responded by dragging their heels and “collating papers” for many weeks before finally confirming that I was never a suspect, while neatly avoiding any comment on Dennis Rice demonstrably implying/claiming otherwise on their behalf.
Dennis Rice responded to this by making a further complaint almost immediately, and again making false/misleading claims to and on behalf of Thames Valley Police in a further attempt to portray my actions as criminal that followed exactly the same pattern as before.
Yet again, Thames Valley Police responded by dragging their heels and “collating papers” for many weeks before finally confirming that I was never a suspect, while neatly avoiding any comment on Dennis Rice demonstrably implying/claiming otherwise on their behalf.
Twice now Thames Valley Police have allowed this tabloid hack to carry on like this without challenge; they even refused to accept or discuss evidence of Rice misleading them and/or making misleading claims on their behalf so he might better intimidate myself and other critics (and I may yet publish some of this evidence if Rice denies/downplays the bullying he engaged in while claiming to be a victim of bullies.)
Further, Thames Valley Police offer no comment on some people’s reactions to the false allegations made against me in their name. One man who allowed himself to be convinced by Rice’s lies offered to come around to confront me personally about my ‘cowardice’, to see if I was a “man or a mouse”. Not as any kind of threat, you understand, just so he could know whether to bring cheese. Ha. ha. Ha.
It was during this kind offer of a personal confrontation that I briefly walked away from the matter and blogging/tweeting generally last month, despite having new and conclusive evidence to hand; I was just about to go on holiday, and did not want some weak-minded dimwit turning up at my house while I was relaxing at home with my family (or, worse, away somewhere).
Today, I returned from holidays, announced I was back on deck, then mentioned that further @tabloidtroll evidence was pending.
Dennis Rice reacted by deliberately trying to trigger the same ‘face to face confrontation’ response from the same damn dimwit; Rice also made a range of the usual claims designed to portray me as a fraud and/or otherwise undermine the IP address evidence that confirmed him as the main account holder for @tabloidtroll
It is here that we turn to the new evidence, and balance it against what has already been published:
The evidence I gathered initially (link) indicated Dennis Rice as the main account holder for @tabloidtroll.
Putting aside what Rice’s further public/private reaction(s) have indicated/revealed about authorship, this always left room for the possibility of multiple authors and/or Rice being the account holder and not the main author(s) for some reason; Rice certainly claimed/implied several times that @tabloidtroll was the work of more than one person.
(Here I grant Roy Greenslade a slow handclap for immediately falling for one of these charades and endorsing a day-old site from an unknown author… over an article on the subject of media standards, no less. Roy didn’t correct his idiocy, by the way; he ran away from thread, leaving me/others to deal with the fallout, and repeatedly allowing Rice to pretend that he had been legitimised by the Guardian’s “endorsement”. Thanks, Roy. You started out with a single act of mere idiocy, but then you were so afraid of looking foolish you acted like a complete bastard. I doubt I shall be trusting you again now I know how reluctant you are to admit error and/or correct diary items even when you know you are in the wrong.)
Judging by his outbursts earlier today, Dennis is expecting me to release this same IP data today and/or make reference to further IP data today.
Sorry, but no. Any further IP data would leave us in much the same place as the above.
What I publish today is not IP data or anything to do with it.
What I publish today is professional linguistic analysis of the Twitter output of @tabloidtroll compared to the Twitter output of @dennisricemedia (Dennis Rice’s ‘main’/name account):
Report of Dr Nicci MacLeod: Comparison of tweets from tabloidtroll to tweets from dennisricemedia for evidence of linguistic consistency
My sincere thanks go to Dr Nicci MacLeod (Research Associate) and Dr Tim Grant (Director) at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University for their time, effort and expertise.
The main findings of the analysis are as follows:
There are multiple significant points of consistency between the output of Dennis Rice and ‘@tabloidtroll’. There are NO significant points of inconsistency.
The evidence I publish today (link) indicates (a) that Dennis Rice authored the majority of content for @tabloidtroll*, and (b) it is very unlikely that there was ever more than one author.
In much the same way that he hilariously declared that ‘lots of people have IP addresses’, I expected Dennis Rice would respond to this evidence by claiming that ‘lots of people say LOL’, but Dr MacLeod addressed this very same issue in her covering letter…
Nicci MacLeod: ‘it’s quite important that we make clear that it’s not the features themselves that are individuating, but the combinations thereof that indicate possibility of shared authorship – I reiterate this a couple of times in the report but I would say it’s pretty crucial that the message gets through, or we risk the inevitable “millions of people use lol and :)”, etc.’
… and shortly after we agreed on a suitable analogy to put that into context:
Tim Ireland: ‘Would this be an accurate analogy? “It wasn’t the 7 or the 12 or the 25 or 29 or the 36 or the 42 that won me the lottery. Lots of people had those. But I had all six.”…’
Nicci: ‘The lottery analogy is absolutely perfect! There were a few author-internal inconsistencies (no more than would be expected)…’
What this means is that Dennis Rice is demonstrably the main account holder of @tabloidtroll AND the original/primary author. I have forensic evidence to support both control of the account, and authorship of the bulk of the content.
It is also worth stressing that not only has Dennis Rice lied about his authorship of @tabloidtroll, but he’s banked so much on this deceit that his extraordinary distortions form part of two consecutive attempts to have me prosecuted (and others fired or otherwise disciplined) for daring to say so.
The upshot of this is even if you believe Rice/@tabloidtroll has a moral/legal right to smear and bully people anonymously, you can’t trust a damn thing he claims to have witnessed, because it can be demonstrated quite clearly that he is capable of the most extraordinary distortions. Anecdotal evidence from someone like this has no value, even if you do turn a blind eye to undisclosed figure(s) paid to this demonstrable liar by Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
(*For material up to and including the initial outing and a short period afterwards. It would not surprise me in the least if Rice has convinced others to chip in to a limited extent since then. I can think of at least one person stupid enough to do this.)
Psst! It was while I was sitting around waiting for Thames Valley Police to do their damn job that I decided to investigate their own web conduct. Unsurprisingly, a lackadaisical attitude to online bullying is evident in this series of anonymous Wikipedia edits and their response to my complaint about it.
UPDATE (7pm) – Dennis Rice has, through his @tabloidtroll site, made several ‘straw man’ arguments in an attempt to undermine the report by claiming the source data is flawed. For example, he claims the researcher’s data is undermined by their saying there are 600 tweets in their data set while there are less than 400 tweets currently listed/apparent in the live account. But no tweets were ‘invented’ for the data set, despite what Dennis Rice might imply; the difference in two numbers is perhaps likely due to RTs not being counted, or perhaps some vast conspiracy. Maybe (just maybe) someone has been deleting some old entries. I’d check it out if I thought this was anything other than the flailings of a desperate liar. The question Dennis Rice really wants to ask is how I got my hands on this data during the period when he had rendered the @dennisricemedia tweets inaccessible to the public or any publicly-accessible cache/archive. Right now he’s too busy trying to goad me into publishing sensitive/IP data. Again.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: 2014 post detailing how Dennis Rice reacted to the evidence that he was the author of ‘@tabloidtroll’
By Neuroskeptic July 16, 2012 - 4:19 pm
Great work. But now can we stop talking about Tabloid Troll? No-one else is!
By Tim_Ireland July 16, 2012 - 5:54 pm
There's a lot to this that is going on behind the scenes. Dennis made a proper nuisance of himself in ways that are often merely alluded to in this post, so he makes himself a priority to some extent. Besides, I had a report to publish.
By CalumCarr July 16, 2012 - 7:01 pm
Great work, Tim. I haven't talked about Tabloid Troll – till now – nor heard others talk about him but that doesn't mean that you should not out him.
Tim, keep doing what you need to do.
By BDW July 19, 2012 - 6:28 pm
Taking a purely objective view, I've never read anything so pathetic in my life! It's social media, for lord's sake. It's trivia. you are obsessed.
By Tim_Ireland July 20, 2012 - 11:11 am
Dear, 'BDW': Welcome to bloggerheads, and thank you for you objective view
By Tim_Ireland July 20, 2012 - 12:11 pm
Dear, 'BDW': Welcome to bloggerheads, and thank you for your objective view
By Paul Ferrari July 20, 2012 - 11:39 am
I think that you really need to read Tim's first paragraph on the original post about this matter …..
By Tim_Ireland July 20, 2012 - 1:04 pm
I fear that this or any other information/context may taint the purity of his objectivity.
edit: They were lucky to be published at all; I don’t normally publish comments from people who falsify their name/email address details like this contributor did.
By @WestWestminster March 22, 2013 - 11:01 pm
Looks like ther eis even more evidence tabloid troll is Dennis Rice. if you do a google search for tabbloid troll you get a warning that web pages have been removed and a link the chilling effects instead. When you get there you see that the cease and decist come from Dennis Rice Media LTD. Hmmmm bet he didn't think that information would be published online.
By @WestWestminster March 22, 2013 - 11:03 pm
forgot the link http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=810…