Mar 12, 2019

Brexit: Foreign far-right Twitter users 'manipulated debate'

Foreign Twitter accounts have recently tried to influence the debate around Brexit, with pro-Leave tweets receiving the most support, researchers say. "A significant number of non-UK accounts were involved in pro-Leave conversations and retweet activity," the researchers wrote in their report, which has been published online. Twitter accounts were deemed to be associated with the far-right when they published tweets linking to far-right news sources or when they expressed support for individuals such as anti-Islamic activist Tommy Robinson, for example. Determining whether accounts were UK-based was tricky - but in many cases the researchers were able to show that an account would be active during UK night-time hours. While many of the accounts supporting pro-Leave and far-right views appeared to be US-based, Prof Jason Reifler at the University of Exeter said the patterns of activity were consistent with tactics known to be used by Russian troll farms.

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