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Russia used hundreds of fake accounts to tweet about Brexit, data shows

Researchers discover that accounts run away from troll raise in St Petersburg tried to sow discord between Britons

Concern about Russian affect in British politics has intensified as it emerged that more than 400 fake Twitter accounts be deemed to be run from Saint petersburg produced poles about Brexit.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh distinguished 419 accountings operating from the Russian Internet Research Agency( IRA) attempting to influence UK politics out of 2,752 accountings suspended by Twitter in the US.

One of the accounts run from the Kremlin-linked operation attempted to incite anti-Islamic sentiment during the Westminster Bridge terror attack in March in a bogus affix claiming a Muslim woman rejected victims- a claim that was highlighted by mainstream media stores including Mail Online and the Sun.

For dates after, the tweeter was joyfully sharing press clippings.” Wow … I’m on the Daily Mail front page! Thank you British libs! You’re making me famous ,” he said, referring to an clause that appeared on Mail Online and which still bore the tweet at the time of writing.

@SouthLoneStar tweet – which appears to have been generated by a Russian. Photograph: Twitter figcaption > source >

A day afterwards, he tweeted:” I’m on The Sun! Thank you again, British libs! Now I’m even more famous !”

Damian Collins, the chair of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, which is investigating bogus word, said here Russian bureau appeared to be attempting to divide society and destabilise politics.

The Conservative MP requires Twitter to tell the committee how it believes Russia has been attempting to influence UK politics.

” What is at post is whether Russia has erected an architecture which means they have millions of notes with which they are unable bombard[ us] with phony information and hyper-partisan content ,” he said.

” We need to understand how widespread it is and what the impact is on the democratic process .”

Collins has asked that Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, furnish examples of poles from the Internet Research Agency about British politics- quoting apply at probable” obstruction by foreign performers in the democratic process” of the UK.

” This is information they nurse and I can’t see any reasonablenes there is a requirement to delaying rendering it ,” he said.

The growings come after the US Congress intelligence committee analyse Russian troll campaigning in the US election of November 2016.

Twitter told the House committee that it had postponed 2,752 histories which were tweeting about the US election because it believed they were controlled from Russia. The committee said it” is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg “.

Hundreds of paid bloggers work round the clock at the IRA to submerge Russian internet gatherings, social networks and the comments sections of western booklets- disseminating disinformation, admiring the country’s director, Vladimir Putin, and feelings at the west.

The agency has been linked to a businessman who was once Putin’s favourite chef.

Prof Laura Cram, director of neuropolitics experiment at the University of Edinburgh, told the Guardian that at least 419 of those notes tweeted about Brexit a total of 3,468 eras- mostly after the referendum had taken place.

Archives of the now deleted Russian accountings depict they included beings purporting to be a US Navy veteran, a Tennessee Republican and a Texan patriot- all tweeting in favour of Brexit.

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‘We know what you’re doing, ‘ Theresa May tells Russia- video

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson implored Theresa May to” generate political persuade to bear on tech monstrous to disclose the extent to which their programmes ought to have hijacked, and to take measures against agents of the Russian position who use their pulpits to spread misinformation and untruths “.

He said tech companionships including Twitter and Facebook” haven’t done enough to identify and weed out the bogus sketches and automated content that pose a direct threat to our democracy “.

On Monday, May gave a speech in which she said Russia’s activities were” peril the international order on which we all depend “.

She accused Russia of intruding in elections and seeding phony stories in the media to” weaponise info” and sow discord in the west.

Concerns about Russia’s cyber-operations have also been raised elsewhere in Europe.

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, claimed on Monday that half of the Twitter histories that enlarged the question of Catalan independence were registered for use in Russia and 30% in Venezuela.

Others have enunciated applies that Russian social media accountings also sought to influence this year’s French and German elections.

A spokesperson for Twitter said the company” recognises that the coherence of the election process itself is integral to the health of a democracy. As such, we will continue to support formal investigations conducted by government authorities into election interference as required .”

The Russian tweets identified by Twitter as coming from the IRA included one by an report owner exercising the epithet @SouthLoneStar.

He reportedly said:” I hope UK after #BrexitVote is just beginning to scavenge their property from muslim takeover !” and” UK voted to leave future European Caliphate! #BrexitVote .”

The same accounting announced a widely shared tweet at the time of the March terror attack on Westminster Bridge in London.

It affixed a photograph of the status of women in a headscarf overtaking the scene of the attack with the caption:” Muslim woman offer no brain to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying mortal while checking phone #PrayForLondon #Westminster #BanIslam .”

The woman said afterward:” Not only have I been devastated by watching the consequences of the a sickening and numbing terrorist attack, I’ve also had to deal with the shock of discovering my illustrate plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my apparel, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia .”

Another deferred history appeared to be a Republican from Tennessee. @TEN_GOP excerpted Nigel Farage telling Fox News about Brexit and Donald Trump:” What you’ve seen this year is just everyday, nice people, the little parties, who’ve said’ We’ve had enough. We miss change .'”

@WadeHarriot, alleging to be a onetime is part of the US Navy, retweeted assessments of “leftists” for “trying to subvert #Brexit” and predictions of “# Brexit #Frexit #Grexit “.

Cram said the content of the Brexit tweets overall was ” relatively chaotic and it seems to be aimed at wider stoppage. There’s not an absolutely clear jab. We pick up a lot on refugees and immigration .”

She stressed that more research is needed to establish the extent of the tweets’ force, and recommended carefulnes about describing judgments from the relatively small number of troll chronicles so far distinguished. About 78% of the tweets came after the Brexit vote on 23 June 2016, she added.

Russia has been adamant it did not interfere in any way in the EU referendum.” We closely followed the voting but never encroached or sought to influence it ,” Putin said the day after the poll.

However, there is no doubt that many in Moscow appreciated expected outcomes. An EU without Britain would be less united on sanctions against Russia, countless Russian officials hoped, because it would lose one of its stronger foreign policy spokespeople and would be too spent with its own internal questions to prioritise Russia policy.

At the time, the onetime US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said the vote to leave the EU was ” a monstrous victory for Putin’s foreign policy objectives “.

The US Congressional investigation into Russian meddling through social media also assembled attest from Facebook that between June 2015 -August 2017 there were 470 accounts on the scaffold associated with the IRA and that 126 million Americans are likely to have seen content from an IRA page.

Additional reporting by Stacee Smith

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ world-wide/ 2017/ nov/ 14/ how-4 00 -russia-run-fake-accounts-posted-bogus-brexit-tweets

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