Russia Might've Favored Twitter for Election Meddling

Research suggests Russian-linked accounts are still sowing discord
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2017 9:50 AM CDT
The Twitter app is seen on a mobile phone in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(Newser) – Facebook is taking most of the flak regarding Russian social media influence during and after the 2016 presidential election, but Twitter might be more deserving. Citing research by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the New York Times notes "there is evidence that Twitter may have been used even more extensively than Facebook in the Russian influence campaign." According to the ASD, some 600 still-active Twitter accounts with ties to Russia have been attempting to sow discord among the US populace. In addition to weighing in on the topic of kneeling during the national anthem last week, the accounts promoted 80 news stories. More than 25% "had a primary theme of anti-Americanism," while 15% attacked Hillary Clinton, reports the Times.

Bot accounts have also been used to spread fake news, which found its way into mainstream media outlets during the election campaign. Such accounts try to "make a big issue seem like an even bigger issue as they are trying to push divisiveness in this country," says Republican Sen. James Lankford of the Senate Intelligence Committee, per Reuters. Twitter—which will be grilled in a private briefing with the committee Thursday about how disinformation spread and what the network did to stop it, per Politico—says it "deeply respects the integrity of the election process" and "will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation," per a statement cited in the Times. Twitter, Facebook, and Google have been asked to testify in an open hearing on Nov. 1. (Read more Twitter stories.)

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