Twitter account that demonised Muslim woman was Russian fake

The account Texas Lone Star has been identified by Twitter as being backed by the Russians

The account Texas Lone Star has been identified by Twitter as being backed by the Russians

A Twitter account that wrongly accused a Muslim woman of ignoring the victims of the Westminster terror attack was run from Russian Federation, it has been revealed.

It swiftly went viral at the time and prompted a fierce racial backlash from far-right activists in the United Kingdom and the US. It showed a group of people gathered around a victim of the Westminster attack, while the woman, with her phone in her hand, appeared like she was undeterred by what was going on.

The man behind the lens, Jamie Lorriman, was horrified that the picture was taken out of context and confirmed that the woman in question was definitely impacted by the attack. The woman concerned, who has remained anonymous, was forced to issue a statement through Tell Mama, a national project which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents, defending herself. It was recently named one of 2,700 Russian-backed accounts created to sow discord in the US during the 2016 presidential election in a list handed over to the US House Intelligence Committee earlier this month. Not only that, but it also churned out tonnes of pro-Brexit messages as well before last year's referendum.

The account also tried to incite anger around Brexit, declaring: "I hope United Kingdom after #BrexitVote will start to clean their land from Muslim invasion!"

These troll accounts are believed to have been churned out by Kremlin-backed "troll factory" Internet Research Agency that tweets out controversial, divisive content to sow discord in the USA and United Kingdom and influence political opinion.

That account, along with about 2,700 others, has been named in a document handed to the US House Intelligence Committee in its investigation into claims that Moscow worked to get Trump into power.

The news comes as MPs prepare to begin an inquiry into Russian interference in British politics to which both Twitter and Facebook have been asked to give evidence. Twitter and Facebook have been asked to submit evidence of accounts related to the European Union referendum and the general election in 2017.

Damian Collins, head of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee who is leading the inquiry, said that it showed Russian accounts were trying to "influence political debate in the United Kingdom and also to insight hatred and turn communities against each other".

It has now been revealed as a Russian bot in a list published by American Democrats, prompting Twitter to shut the account down, according to Wired. "This could just be the tip of the iceberg because we've only really just started looking and doing a proper detailed study of what accounts linked to Russian organisations have been doing politically".

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