Twitter didn’t find any Russian effort to influence Brexit

Summary

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.

Disproof

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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 162
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Czech
  • Country: Russia, United Kingdom
  • Keywords: election meddling, Twitter, Brexit, Manipulated elections/referendum
  • Outlet: Sputnik
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Malaysia was excluded from the MH17 investigation

Malaysia was excluded from the MH17 investigation.

In Malaysia there are still loud and clear doubts in the highest government circles about the course of events presented by the JIT and those responsible for the MH17 tragedy. International concerns have already raised the question of how long Malaysia, where the crashed plane and the airline originated, was excluded from JIT investigations. The downright hateful reactions to publicly expressed doubts by Malaysian government representatives about the evidence presented by JIT are also noted with dismay in Malaysia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the downing of Flight MH17. See a similar case alleging that Malaysia was sidelined here.

Malaysia's Prosecutor's office cooperated in the investigation conducted by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Speaking at the press conference of the JIT on 19 June 2019, the Deputy Prosecutor General of Malaysia, Mohamad Hanafiah bin Zakaria, reiterated Malaysia's commitment to the JIT in seeking justice for the victims and stated that the JIT findings were based on extensive investigation and legal research [see 57:30 - 58:14].

Poland is the foundation of anti-Russian hysteria

Detente in relations between Moscow and Brussels means a potential crisis for the current Polish authorities, pursuing an anti-Russian policy. Poland is going to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. While they did not invite Russia, they sent an invitation to Germany.

Poland pursues a policy aimed at rapprochement with the US and even ignores EU players, and also exploits the theme of “potential Russian aggression’. Today, Poland is the foundation of anti-Russian hysteria.

Disproof

Poland is a frequent target of Russian propaganda, which portrays Poland as anti-Russian and aggressive toward Russia. This is an example of a recurring Pro-Kremlin narrative based on "Russophobia" myth. Similar cases can be found here and here.

The fact that Warsaw did not invite the Russian leader to celebrations was explained by the Polish leadership: "Invitations have been sent to the EU, NATO, and Eastern Partnership members, but not to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Invitations have been issued according to a contemporary, not a historical context."

The Commander-in-Chief of Sweden’s Armed Forces headed the march of the perverts

In Sweden, the annual march of same-sex perverts has occurred. The march was headed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Swedish Armed Forces, Michael Byden, and other top officers of the Army.

 

Disproof

This is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, suggesting a morally decaying Europe. The Pride Parade in Stockholm was not "headed" by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The Armed Forces leadership have been participating in the parade for several years to demonstrate the principle of equality for all, disregarding sex, sexual orientation or ethnic background.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets commonly attack the LGTBQI community in order to create an atmosphere of hate and intolerance.