NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO – Russian-linked Twitter bots shared Donald Trump’s tweets almost half a million times during the final months of the 2016 election campaign, the company said in a submission to Congress.
The automated accounts retweeted @realDonaldTrump posts almost 470,000 times, accounting for just over 4 percent of the re-tweets he received from Sept. 1 to Nov. 15, 2016. Hillary Clinton’s account got fewer than 50,000 retweets by the Russian-linked automated accounts during the same period of time, the company said in documents posted Friday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The information further underscores how Russian-linked accounts sought to stir up discord over the presidential election. Congress has been investigating exactly how social-media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were manipulated during the election.
Twitter also found that Russian-linked accounts were responsible for 48 to 73 percent of the retweets of WikiLeaks accounts during the same time period. During the campaign, WikiLeaks published emails from hacked Democratic Party servers.
The social media company said accounts linked to the Russian government-backed Internet Research Agency tried to reach out to journalists and “prominent individuals” through mentions. “Some of the accounts appear to have attempted to organize rallies and demonstrations, and several engaged in abusive behavior and harassment,” Twitter said.
Twitter previously said it had suspended 3,814 IRA-linked accounts.
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