Russian bots retweeted Trump nearly 500,000 times in final weeks of 2016 campaign

Russian-linked automated Twitter accounts, or bots, retweeted Donald Trump almost half a million times in the final w...

Posted: Jan 28, 2018 1:33 PM
Updated: Jan 28, 2018 1:33 PM

Russian-linked automated Twitter accounts, or bots, retweeted Donald Trump almost half a million times in the final weeks before the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Twitter told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The 50,000 automated accounts the company determined had ties to Russia sent more than 2 million election-related tweets between September 1 and November 15, 2016.

The accounts retweeted then-candidate Donald Trump 10 times more than they retweeted his rival Hillary Clinton, according to Twitter's written statement to the committee. The accounts were responsible for 4.25% of all retweets of Trump's account in the last weeks of the election campaign and in the days immediately following the vote.

Twitter stressed throughout the report that the behavior of the accounts in question represented "a very small fraction of overall activity" on its platform in the lead-up to the election. The 2.1 million tweets sent by the automated accounts represented 1% of election-related activist tweets on its platform, Twitter said.

Twitter, along with Google and Facebook, late last year appeared before Congress for hearings on Russian efforts to use social media platforms to influence the U.S. presidential election. Twitter's analysis of Russian automated bot activity is the latest correspondence from the company to be released by congressional investigators.

The company also examined how the bots helped amplify content from what it described as "Russian-linked accounts" including @Wikileaks.

The 50,000 accounts retweeted Wikileaks almost 200,000 times during the ten-week period, Twitter said.

When hacked emails from the personal accounts of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta were first released by Wikileaks in October 2016, it prompted the hashtag #PodestaEmails. The automated accounts were responsible for nearly 5% of all tweets containing the hashtag, Twitter found.

Automated Twitter accounts that retweet or tweet the same thing en masse can create talking points that appear to have more support than they actually do.

Twitter said it examined the timing of tweets and other indicators to determine whether an account was automated.

To establish whether an account was linked to Russia it looked for accounts that were associated with a Russian phone carrier or Russian email address, and whether the user's account name "contain[ed] a significant number of Cyrillic characters" and had logged in from any Russian IP address.

In total, it found 50,258 Russian-linked automated accounts that tweeted about the election in the last two months of the campaign and the week after the election.

The company said that it may not have identified all Russian-linked automated accounts as it said that 12% of all accounts created on the platform hide their location using virtual private networks.

Twitter sent the findings to the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 19.

The 50,000 accounts are in addition to 3,814 accounts the company found that were run by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian government-linked troll group based in St. Petersburg.

Many of those accounts were designed to look like they were run by real Americans and amassed tens of thousands of followers.

Earlier this month, Twitter said it would inform nearly 700,000 Americans they either followed or interacted with one of the Kremlin-linked troll accounts.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
46° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 42°
Florence
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Fayetteville
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 40°
Decatur
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 43°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
43° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 43°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 232506

Reported Deaths: 3457
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30318491
Mobile19260356
Tuscaloosa12446148
Madison12204146
Montgomery12000232
Shelby971276
Baldwin819984
Lee750464
Morgan610447
Calhoun5964113
Etowah585764
Marshall579453
Houston503338
DeKalb460835
Cullman409636
Limestone400844
St. Clair396055
Elmore391061
Lauderdale378353
Walker348096
Talladega334042
Colbert294341
Jackson290524
Blount275436
Autauga261739
Franklin243633
Coffee230315
Dale225454
Dallas219631
Russell21753
Chilton216137
Covington212333
Escambia194031
Tallapoosa168590
Chambers167548
Clarke154919
Pike154714
Marion133935
Winston122523
Lawrence121436
Geneva11678
Marengo116424
Barbour116010
Pickens114118
Bibb113617
Butler113341
Randolph99521
Cherokee98524
Hale91531
Washington89818
Clay88823
Henry8386
Fayette83116
Lowndes78529
Monroe76811
Cleburne74214
Crenshaw70030
Macon69420
Bullock68919
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Wilcox62318
Lamar6227
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene39917
Coosa3064
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 340476

Reported Deaths: 4266
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby45436634
Davidson40436402
Knox17413137
Rutherford16668150
Hamilton15723135
Williamson1050373
Sumner9016134
Wilson692474
Out of TN668748
Montgomery614481
Sullivan594689
Putnam572279
Washington550298
Maury541957
Blount508055
Madison5064104
Bradley476833
Sevier458530
Unassigned416314
Robertson352550
Tipton345136
Hamblen328257
Dyer307149
Gibson297761
Greene281868
Anderson271525
Dickson264427
Coffee260841
Carter250951
Bedford250328
Obion250347
Lawrence249632
Cumberland240035
McMinn232255
Warren226517
Hardeman220337
Roane217723
Loudon216517
Jefferson212631
Fayette212137
Weakley205934
Lauderdale198721
Monroe197042
Franklin189631
Trousdale189012
Wayne179310
Hawkins178234
Henderson178030
Macon175727
Hardin170925
White166417
Marshall163117
Carroll162832
Haywood159129
Rhea155530
Cocke153928
Overton150034
Campbell146521
Cheatham146316
Lincoln144413
Henry141517
McNairy137232
Smith136919
Johnson136721
Giles134242
Fentress116219
Lake11445
Bledsoe11405
Crockett110925
Hickman109417
DeKalb108220
Marion103117
Chester97919
Scott9407
Grainger91314
Decatur91012
Unicoi77123
Claiborne7509
Benton74914
Grundy73414
Lewis70411
Cannon6962
Union6865
Jackson6579
Morgan6546
Humphreys6407
Polk62914
Houston56819
Stewart54614
Clay52418
Sequatchie4895
Meigs45912
Perry45520
Moore3652
Pickett36512
Van Buren3382
Hancock1453

Community Events