Parliament Asks Twitter About Russian Meddling in Brexit Vote

Although Twitter reaches a comparatively small British viewers, Russian efforts to make use of the platform would counsel that its propagandists have been additionally energetic on Facebook, which has extra customers and is way tougher for these exterior the corporate to observe.

Asked concerning the declare that accounts linked to Russia had additionally posted about Britain, a Twitter spokesman declined to remark. But the spokesman stated that Twitter would assist authorities investigations into election interference.

Russia is keen to weaken or divide the European Union, which it sees as a risk to its affect in Eastern Europe, so it might not be shocking if it have been discovered to have mounted a marketing campaign in favor of Brexit.

In response to a Congressional inquiry, social media firms acknowledged for the primary time this week that Russian brokers looking for to roil American politics had reached 126 million customers with Facebook posts, printed greater than 131,000 messages on Twitter and uploaded greater than 1,000 movies to Google’s YouTube service.

Facebook stated Russia’s web Research Agency had posted roughly 80,000 items of divisive content material that was proven to about 29 million individuals between January 2015 and August 2017, and people posts have been then broadly shared and reposted to achieve much more. The firm stated it had deleted greater than 170 accounts on its photo-sharing app Instagram that had posted about 120,000 items of Russia-linked content material.

Researchers on the City University of London have already recognized an uncommon disappearance after the Brexit vote of 13,500 Twitter accounts that have been extremely energetic across the referendum, the overwhelming majority campaigning for Britain to go away the bloc. All 65,000 messages posted on these accounts in the 4 weeks earlier than the vote have been deleted shortly afterward.

That has raised questions concerning the chance coordinated “bot army” was deployed, and in addition concerning the chance that Twitter itself could have detected and eliminated them with out disclosing the manipulation. Because creating energetic Twitter accounts may be expensive, house owners who use them for campaigns usually want to not discard them. A spokesman for Twitter has declined to remark.

In his letter, Mr. Collins, the chairman of the digital, tradition, media and sport choose committee, requested Twitter for “a list of accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency and any other Russian linked accounts that it has removed and examples of any posts from these accounts that are linked to the United Kingdom.” Mr. Collins requested the corporate to supply the data by the top of November.

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