Even as the aftermath of the violence that broke out following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, continues to grip the US, media reports have alleged that Russian Twitter bots are now engaged in sowing discord.
Russian bots have taken to Twitter to promote and share extremist right-wing tweets and disinformation, a Slate online magazine reported on Thursday. Citing findings from the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund that tracks efforts to undermine democratic governments, Slate reported that Russian accounts were busy at work in the days after Charlottesville.
"PhoenixRally," "Antifa," and "MAGA" were among the most common hashtags used by these accounts this week. One of the central themes shared by the Russian-linked accounts after Charlottesville was an accusation that the left-leaning philanthropist George Soros had supported the counter-protesters.
"The same Russian social media machine that blanketed Twitter with pro-Trump posts during the 2016 presidential election was reportedly at work after Charlottesville too," the report said. Dozens of people marched through the University of Virginia on August 11, carrying torches and chanting "Jews will not replace us" and "White lives matter".
They were protesting a Charlottesville City Council plan to remove a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue from a nearby park. But violence gripped the event after the rally's supporters were confronted by anti-racism groups.
A 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, from Charlottesville was killed and nearly a score injured when a car, allegedly driven by a white supremacist, hit a crowd of counter-protesters.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - IANS)