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Through further analysis I discovered that Twitter had taken similar action against nearly all of the 106 accounts with usernames matching those on Reddit's “suspicious” list, even @LGBTUnited, a now-inactive LGBTQ-themed promoter with no apparent connection to the troll farm page of the same name.
Some other accounts marked restricted at time of writing included apparently real people with no obvious ties to Russia, such as @hcaner, a growth hacker from Brazil.
On April 17, I returned to Reddit's suspicious accounts list and found that ajcrwl and three additional accounts had been removed from it, and unbanned.
ajcrwl confirmed that two of the accounts also belonged to them.
Although the Reddit account /u/Ajcrwl was created in October 2016, during the broader troll activity period, the account itself showed no sign of any anti-US or pro-Kremlin activity; instead, there were posts concerning rose growing and the video game Dishonored 2.
ajcrwl, whom I noticed earlier tweeting at Reddit, was not acting like a guilty party.
When I asked whether they ever used a VPN, or interacted with the platform in an unusual way, they wrote: Sometimes I use a VPN connection, and I think I've been flagged in January when I deactivated one of my Reddit accounts and immediately created another.
There's a chance I logged into the third one back then as well.
Next, I wanted to see whether the Reddit usernames had been re-used on other social media sites.
None of them matched with any of the infrastructure I have on file (my records, derived from open sources, are robust though not exhaustive) as being linked to the Internet Research Agency, RIA FAN, or the IP addresses of their associated forum trolls.
Rather, it seems more likely that ajcrwl's use of a VPN, in combination with activity involving three accounts, set off Reddit's tripwire.
I contacted them a day later, curious to learn how they landed on Reddit's radar during the investigation.
“I don't think anyone from Reddit even bothered to check [my account(s)] outside of Reddit”, they responded.