By: Kyle James | 04-29-2018 | News
Photo credit: Julian Hamilton | Daily Mirror

UK - Russian Twitter Bots Backed Labour During Election

Russian trolls aren't only interested in U.S. elections it seems, a new report has revealed that Russian Twitter bots rallied for the Labour party during the general election. The report carried out by Swansea University and the Sunday Times reveals 6,500 Twitter bots tweeted using female English names and were pumping out messages in support of Labour and Jeremy Corbyn.

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The report shows 9 out of 10 messages from the Russian accounts tweeted in support of Labour and found that 80% of the automated accounts were created in the weeks leading up to the June vote. Secretary Matt Hanock said the reports were "extremely concerning."

"It is absolutely unacceptable for any nation to attempt to interfere in the democratic elections of another country," Hanock said. Labour said it was "not aware of any from automated bots, categorically did not pay for any and are not aware of any of our supporters doing so." In the same statement, Labour said its "people-powered election campaign" was the reason for its success and that many of its policies are opposed to "both May and Putin's conservative philosophy and their super-rich supporters."

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I applaud the UK Press suggestion that malicious cyber technology can influence elections &amp; <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UK</a> Gov acknowledgement - lets now investigate <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GE2015</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UKReferendum2016</a> &amp; <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GE2017</a> … <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CambridgeAnalytica</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AggregateIQ</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SCL</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PeoplesVote</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ABTV</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StopBrexit</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Frank #FBPE (@Heavyrads) <a href="">April 29, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Labour also said the Russian government had actually backed the Tories during last year's campaign and promoted "Theresa May's 'strong and stable' slogan". According to the Sunday Times report, the Twitter bots tweeted about critical points during the election. Some criticized The Tories manifesto and its launch day and retweeted support for Mr. Corbyn's rallies. They also criticized the PM over police numbers after the Manchester bombing and urged Labour supporters to vote on election day.

The Times said in all its researchers found 16,000 Russian bot accounts had tweeted about UK politics in the last year. The investigation focused on 20,000 tweets from Russian bots in the four weeks leading up to the general election and analyzed their "political slant".

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Twitter: #UK #Labour #Russia #Twitter #Bots #Election #SundayTimes #Swansea

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