Just when you thought we’d hit peak ‘Russian meddling’ claims, there’s a whole new fear-mongering report in town. The Sunday Times has released an ‘investigation’ linking a pesky Russian bot army with Labour’s June election gains.
Heaven forbid British voters may have been swayed by a lack of leadership by the Tories...
The Sunday Times exclusive, but apparently not in-depth, joint investigation with Swansea University claims that 6,500 ‘Russian’ Twitter accounts sent messages of support for the British Labour Party in the seven weeks before last year's snap general election, sharing "mass-produced" and "orchestrated" political messages.
Given that politicians and multi-billion dollar corporations spend exorbitant amounts of money trying to influence public opinion, it’s extremely hard to imagine how recently-created, thinly-veiled bot accounts could possibly garner enough of a following to somehow influence millions of voters across the UK within mere weeks. That logic didn’t stop the Times, though.
Among the handpicked accounts sampled in the study, nine out of 10 messages were in support of the Labour party while 9 out of 10 messages mentioning the Conservative party were critical. In addition, some 80 percent of the "automated accounts" were created in the weeks prior to the June, 2017 general election. Notably, the list of Twitter accounts ‘studied’ by the paper and university have not been released, nor have they outlined just how many followers (which is generally a good barometer of the potential reach of a tweet) the accounts had.
The ‘revelations’ fall neatly in line with the ongoing scapegoat narrative across the mainstream media: Russia is supposedly influencing everything from the 2016 US presidential election to the Brexit vote to potentially meddling in the German elections and the Catalonian independence referendum. While time and time again the narrative fails due to blatant lack of evidence, it is seemingly irresistible to Western MSM and politicians alike.
Just this week, the US House Intelligence Committee “found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.” Yet the narrative persists.