Twitter bird wearing ushanka in front of Kremlin buildings

Jason Reed

Russia also used Twitter to spread election misinformation in 2016

Facebook has also been the subject of scrutiny.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Sep 28, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 3:59 pm CDT

Twitter, like its rival social media giant Facebook, is now under scrutiny for its role in allowing Russia-controlled accounts to try and sow distrust and division in the United States ahead of the 2016 election.

Evidence suggests that Twitter may have been used even more than Facebook by Russian agents in efforts to influence the presidential election, the New York Times reports. In addition to the well-known use of “bots,” or accounts that spew out automated messages, there were Russian-linked accounts posing as Americans spreading fake news during election season.

The Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan group that is part of a public policy research group in Washington D.C., has been tracking 600 Russian-linked Twitter accounts since last month, the Times reports.

More recently, those accounts have been stirring discontent as President Donald Trump continues to rail against NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

In the past week alone, the Russian-Twitter accounts–which appear to be both bots and human-run–have accused Hillary Clinton of funding Antifa and promoted the (false) idea that the news that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort being wiretapped by the FBI “vindicated” the president’s claims from earlier this year that he himself had his “wires tapped.”

Like Twitter, Facebook has come under the microscope for its use by Russian operatives to influence Americans during the 2016 election.

Earlier this month Facebook announced it sold $100,000 worth of ads to a Russian “troll farm” and found roughly 470 inauthentic accounts that it said were likely “operated out of Russia.”

The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday that Russian agents posed as a well-known Muslim-American group on Facebook to spread memes and misinformation ahead of the election and after it.

Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have invited Facebook, Twitter and Google to testify on Russian interference in the election, according to the Times.  

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*First Published: Sep 28, 2017, 9:00 am CDT