The level of influence and interference by Russian-linked social media accounts trying to engineer social division in the UK is considerably more extensive than has been reported to date.
This policy brief details how independent analysis has identified systematic use of fake social media accounts, linked to Russia, amplifying the public impacts of four terrorist attacks that took place in the UK in 2017. Download the 4-page brief here.
The evidence is that at least 47 different accounts were used to influence and interfere with public debate following all four attacks. Of these, 8 accounts were especially active, posting at least 475 Twitter messages across the 4 attacks, which were reposted in excess of 153,000 times.
A significant aspect of these interference campaigns was the use of these accounts as ‘sock puppets’ – where interventions were made on both sides of polarised debates, amplifying their message and ramping up the level of discord and disagreement within public online debate.
This report was written by researchers at the Cardiff University Crime and Security Research Institute (CSRI), funded by CREST as part of our ‘Soft Facts and Digital Behavioural Influencing’ project. The project is led by Professor Martin Innes, who directs the CSRI.
You can download report, for free here: Russian influence and interference measures following the 2017 UK terrorist attacks
You can read more about the CREST project ‘Soft Facts and Digital Behavioural Influencing’ here.