DISINFO: Twitter didn’t find any Russian effort to influence Brexit
  • Outlet: cz.sputniknews.com (archived)*
  • Date of publication: August 14, 2019
  • Outlet language(s): Czech
  • Reported in: Issue 162
  • Countries / regions discussed: UK, Russia
election meddling Twitter Brexit Manipulated elections/referendum

DISINFO: Twitter didn’t find any Russian effort to influence Brexit


To explain why the British voted to withdraw from the EU, attention turned once again to the role of Russian trolls. Even Twitter began investigating the case. In the end, Twitter had to inform the British parliament that it found no evidence of Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the Brexit vote.


This is a misleading claim about the role of Russian troll activity on Twitter around the Brexit referendum. It is consistent with longstanding pro-Kremlin disinformation efforts to deny that Russia has engaged in electoral meddling, despite extensive proof to the contrary. Twitter was initially criticised for its failure to provide an adequate response to the parliamentary committee seeking answers about Russian disinformation operations during Brexit. This did not mean that no evidence had been found of Russian efforts to influence the vote. In early 2018, Twitter admitted that Russian trolls had indeed targeted the Brexit vote during an evidence session with British MPs, who flew to the United States to question representatives from major technology firms as part of their fake news inquiry. Further information came to light later in 2018, when Twitter released data showing that an army of Russian trolls sent thousands of messages with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU on the day of the Brexit vote. This army, which was linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), constituted approximately 3800 accounts. For more disinformation cases about Brexit, see here.


Related disinfo cases


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

    Your opinion matters!

    Data Protection Information *

      Subscribe to the Disinfo Review

      Your weekly update on pro-Kremlin disinformation

      Data Protection Information *

      The Disinformation Review is sent through Mailchimp.com. See Mailchimp’s privacy policy and find out more on how EEAS protects your personal data.