Russian Twitter accounts promoted Brexit ahead of European Union referendum - Times newspaper

Russian Twitter accounts promoted Brexit ahead of European Union referendum - Times newspaper

Russian Twitter accounts promoted Brexit ahead of European Union referendum - Times newspaper

Russian Twitter accounts posted nearly 45,000 messages about Brexit in 48 hours during last year's referendum in an apparently co-ordinated attempt to sow discord, The Times can reveal.

The Times cited research done jointly by the University of California at Berkeley and Swansea University in Wales that reckoned that over 150,000 Twitter accounts based in Russian Federation, which had previously concerned themselves mainly with issues like Russia's backing for Ukrainian rebels and its annexation of Crimea, switched their attention to Brexit in the days leading up to the 2016 vote.

The Times said most of the tweets seen by the newspaper encouraged people to vote for Brexit, although a number advocated remaining in the EU. From posting fewer than 1,000 tweets a day before June 13, the accounts - many of which are virulently pro-Putin - posted 39,000 tweets on June 24...

Co-author, Tho Pam, reportedly added that "the main conclusion is that bots were used on goal and had influence".

Researchers claim there were more than 400 Twitter accounts which were allegedly controlled from Russian Federation creating posts about Brexit.

It spotted 419 accounts from the 2752 suspended by Twitter in the USA for interfering in the presidential election past year.

In Britain, a parliamentary committee has written to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg asking for information on any paid-for activity by Russian-linked Facebook accounts around the European Union referendum and the 2017 national election.

"It is seeking to weaponize information", she said.

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