Facebook, Twitter to share details of Russia's meddling during Brexit

Facebook and Twitter have agreed to share details with British authorities on Russia's interference in the Brexit referendum by using their platforms.

Published: 29th November 2017 12:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th November 2017 12:29 PM   |  A+A-

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LONDON: Facebook and Twitter have agreed to share details with British authorities on Russia's interference in the Brexit referendum by using their platforms.

According to the Guardian on Wednesday, Facebook and Twitter will share those posts with the House of Commons media watchdog.

"Facebook said it would respond with information by early December, while Twitter said it intends to share findings in the coming weeks," the report added.

The information would give the UK a better idea of whether Russia tried to influence the vote on leaving the EU, Damian Collins, Chair of Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee was quoted as saying.

Earlier in November, a group of data scientists found 156,252 Russian accounts on Twitter which mentioned #Brexit and posted nearly 45,000 messages related to the EU referendum in the 48 hours around the vote.

In the US, Facebook, Twitter and Google are already facing intense fake news scrutiny after disclosing the details about the presence of Russian political ads, tweets and posts on their platforms during the presidential election in 2016.

The Kremlin-linked Russian organisations purchased more than $100,000 of ads on social media platforms during the 2016 US presidential election.

Facebook told US Congress in November that 126 million of its users in the US might have seen ads produced and circulated by Russian operatives.

According to Facebook UK Policy Director Simon Miller, it is "considering how we can best respond to the Electoral Commission's request for information and expect to be able to respond to them by the second week of December."

British Prime Minister Theresa May has also accused Russia of meddling in the elections and planting fake stories.

According to data scientists from Swansea University in Wales and the University of California, Berkeley, over 150,000 Russian accounts who were posting about the Ukrainian conflict swiftly started tweeting about Brexit in days leading up to the 2016 vote.

"From posting fewer than 1,000 tweets a day before June 13, the accounts -- many of which are virulently pro-Putin -- posted 39,000 tweets on June 23-24," the report said.

Tho Pham, one of the report authors, confirmed to TechCrunch that the majority of those Brexit tweets were posted on June 24, 2016, the day after the vote.

Political events like the Brexit referendum and the US presidential election have observed the use of social bots in spreading fake news and misinformation, the data scientists observed.

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