By Aaron Miller-
Twitter has deactivated up to 40 news impostor accounts identified as part of a Kremlin -backed Russian Internet Research Agency which masqueraded as local American news sources,
The Eye Of Media. Com can reveal. out of the 2,752 Twitter accounts that the company identified as being tied to the IRA. All data on the accounts from third-party sources have been deleted following the revelation from Meltwater- a data intelligence firm that monitors social media.
The Kremlin-backed Russian Internet Research Agency allegedly operated several Twitter accounts , amassing over half-a-million followers. Over 100 news outlets published stories containing those handles in the run-up to the election, with some of them tweeted by a top presidential aide, The Eye Of Media.Com has heard. These news imposter accounts, are part of the 2,752 now-suspended accounts that Twitter show how the Russian group went about to build local communities of followers to disseminate messages.
Many of the news imposter accounts amassed their following by tweeting headlines from real news sites, while others sought to represent certain communities. Their targets were a range of regions across the political spectrum that included Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. Many of the accounts impersonated local news outlets in swing states, like @TodayPittsburgh, @TodayMiami and @TodayCincinnati.
Twitter said it takes reports of its service being abused very seriously. A spokesperson for Twitter told The Eye Of Media.Com:
“We take seriously reports that the power of our service was misused by a foreign actor for the purpose of influencing the U.S. presidential election and undermining public faith in the democratic process,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Twitter believes that any activity of that kind—regardless of magnitude—is intolerable, and we agree that we must do better to prevent it.”
Twitter believes that any activity of that kind—regardless of magnitude—is intolerable, and we agree that we must do better to prevent it.”
Tweets from many of the illegitimate accounts were linked to breaking news stories from legitimate local news sites, like the New York Daily News and the New York Times. According to reliable sources, individuals closely affiliated with the Russian government used Facebook, Google and Twitter to propagate content designed to sow discord in America.
@BlackNewsOutlet- one of the fake accounts- had over 40,000 followers , with a slogan: of “Freedom is never given; it is won. #BlackLivesMatter.” Tweets from this account allegedly posted news about social unrest or headlines to incite anger. A retweeted post from @BlackNewsOutlet on Oct. 19, 2016 read: “How many more black lives needed to change the rotten police systems?” ”The posts were aimed at largely discrediting the administration of former U.S President, Barack Obama and indicating that failed presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton- an ally of Obama- was likely to follow suit and reproduce a similar system”, one source told The Eye Of Media.Com on the condition of anonymity. ”The tweeter accounts were successful in their impact on the election outcome”, the source claims, its broad aims was to effectively achieve the victory of Donald Trump, as eventually happened”, he says.
‘ Left-leaning and right-leaning accounts were utilised in spreading propaganda aimed at turning people away from Hilary Clinton”, according to another anonymous source, her chances of success were drastically reduced as a result of these tweets and their thousands of followers”. One of the outlets, @redlanews, which had almost 10,000 followers, claimed its author was “Red Louisiana News”, with a biography that read: “Conservative; Right and proud; Christian. Love my country and will stand against liberals and socialists.” The account tweeted news from outlets like Breitbart and wrote incendiary posts before the election. One of them read: “Hillary Clinton believes in white supremacy. The only racist here it’s her Corrupt lying politician #HillarysEmails.” Another tweet from the account in early 2016 tagged Trump in the post: “@realDonaldTrump Ted Cruz will destroy our economy and military might with his plans. The only way to fight islamists is Trump way!” The @MissouriNewsUS account, which had almost 6,000 followers, had a description of one hashtag: #NeverHilary. Another handle, @NewYorkDem, said it was for “New York, uniting Liberals since 1624!”
The revelation will add pressure to the investigation into Russian meddling in The U.S 2016 elections, but some critics told The Eye Of Media.Com that the campaign against Hilary Clinton might have been there to stop a potentially dangerous woman from taking office. One source said : ”if you knew all the clandestine groups Hilary was a part of, you would understand why there was a great deal of concern and opposition to her being elected. A lot of people might be unsatisfied with President Trump, but whilst I believe Clinton may have come across better with her rhetorics and would not have been a twitter freak herself, there would have been a lot to worry about under a leadership headed by her. The devil you know is better than the one you don’t”.
No matter the view held or the preferred political ideology, manipulation and deception has no place in politics. All sides in an election are always free to legitimately reveal and sound alarm bells against their political rival, but dubious influence of elections is undemocratic and unlawful. Despite the view that the Russians unlawfully influenced the American elections, the revelations by Wikileaks about Clinton’s use of a private email account and the many other revelations contained in the leaks are believed to have played major role in her defeat in the dramatic 2016 U.S elections. Any influence of Russian propaganda may have added to that, but it is what it is.