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UK Think-Tank Blames Hatred Of Islam On Russian Twitter Trolls

Via Zerohedge

UK Twitter users divided over Islam may have fallen victim to Russian trolls, according to a research group which analyzed over 9 million tweets.

report released Thursday by the UK’s cross-party Demos think tank shows that a St. Petersburg “troll farm” tweeted far more about Islam than Brexit, reports Bloomberg.

Using a Twitter-provided data set of 3,841 blocked accounts said to be linked to the Internet Research Agency, the study shows how accounts “camouflaged” themselves after their creation in 2011 by tweeting innocuous things about exercise and fitness in order to appear genuine, before becoming politically active to divide people. Demos adds as a caveat that they are “dependent on Twitter’s determination that these are indeed Russian state-operated accounts.

According to Demos:

  • There were three phases in Russian influence operations: under-the-radar account building, minor Brexit vote visibility, and larger-scale visibility during the London terror attacks.
  • Russian influence operations linked to the UK were most visible when discussing Islam. Tweets discussing Islam over the period of terror attacks between March and June 2017 were retweeted 25 times more often than their other messages.
  • The most widely-followed and visible troll account, @TEN_GOP, shared 109 Tweets related to the UK. Of these, 60 percent were related to Islam.
  • The topology of tweet activity underlines the vulnerability of social media users to disinformation in the wake of a tragedy or outrage.
  • Focus on the UK was a minor part of wider influence operations in this data. Of the nine million Tweets released by Twitter, 3.1 million were in English (34 percent). Of these 3.1 million, we estimate 83 thousand were in some way linked to the UK (2.7%). Those Tweets were shared 222 thousand times. It is plausible we are therefore seeing how the UK was caught up in Russian operations against the US.
  • Influence operations captured in this data show attempts to falsely amplify other news sources and to take part in conversations around Islam, and rarely show attempts to spread ‘fake news’ or influence at an electoral level.

In other words, the suspected Russian bots weren’t spreading fake news – they were amplifying legitimate news sources.

Of the nine million tweets analyzed, a staggering one thousand four hundred and sixteen (1,416, or 0.0015%) were “messages sent by Russian state-operated accounts” after three London Islamic terror attacks, and were “widely shared on the platform.” The 1,416 tweets were retweeted 98,499 times – however Demos notes that they “cannot tell how many of these retweets were from other state-controlled or otherwise malicious accounts.”

Demos offers the following caveats to their analysis:

  • we cannot say with confidence what proportion of Russian state-operated accounts that were active over the period the data represents.
  • we expect there to be significantly more accounts that have either not been detected or were not contained in the data released
  • Although this is a useful window into Russian influence operations, we cannot be sure it is a representative one. We are equally dependent on Twitter’s determination that these are indeed Russian state-operated accounts.
  • One of the major questions that this analysis cannot answer is whether this data set reveals Russian operations against the UK directly, or a small part of a Russian operation against the USA which happened to include UK-related messaging.

Read the working paper below:

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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Amanda Momtazi
Amanda Momtazi
November 2, 2018

Time Britain grew up and stopped behaving like a bullying two year old.

Vera Gottlieb
Vera Gottlieb
November 2, 2018

How ingenious…a new way to blame Russia.

November 2, 2018

John Nolan
John Nolan
November 3, 2018

Maybe the morons who devised this pile of putretant wind should read the Koran, to see what is behind this muslim invasion of Amazia, Englandia, Europia, Auslazia,and then start to understand who is behind this global takeover. Learn who actually started this muslim religion, and the real purpose behind these young, healthy, obviously financially secure, mostly male, militarially trained terrorists. It may surprise the sincere researcher, to find this invasion is part of a religious war on the West, on our culture, our rather shoddy moral standards, our freedom, and, most importantly, for those of us who stand by our… Read more »

john vieira
Reply to  John Nolan
November 3, 2018

Unfortunately there are none so blind as those who “will not see”. This is “his” world…he offered it to Jesus in return for his adulation…and was rejected….The last Crusade is at hand ??? The fact that Islam was hijacked in the sixth century and was turned against God by the “highjacker” in his refusal to acknowledge the 2nd of the Two Great Commandments thus guaranteeing their place in the kingdom of brimstone and fire…

Steve Hayes
November 3, 2018

To call this a study is an insult to everyone who as ever studied anything. Russophobia amongst the elite, and their paid propagandists, has blinded them to evidence and reason, and all the values of the Enlightenment.

Shaun Ramewe
Shaun Ramewe
November 3, 2018

Does anyone even believe, let alone care, what the lying sneaky pro-terrorist false-flagging war-criminal pervert-cowards in the UK so-called establishment think?!!

Cheryl Brandon
Cheryl Brandon
November 3, 2018

SOME recommended books if you like reading, which I have read. Dangerous Liaison; The inside story of the USA-Israel covert relationship (1991) writers Andrew and Leslie Cockburn NY USA The Holocaust Industry; Reflections on the exploitation of the jewish suffering by (2003) by Dr Norman G Finkelstein. London UK Guilt by association; How deception and self-deceit took America to war (2008) by Jeff Gates NJ USA The Racket; A Rogue Reporter versus the American State (2015) ZED Book, London UK The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2007) by Ilan Pappe Oxford UK. Against our better judgement; The Hidden history of how… Read more »

Cheryl Brandon
Cheryl Brandon
November 3, 2018

If Americans Knew – What every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine:

NBC buried info that made Avenatti look bad and Kavanaugh look good (Video)

Russia And China Are Apparently Both Under The Impression That War With U.S. Is Coming…