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Russian twitter bots promoted The Labour Party in UK elections, says report

Urging Twitter to act to prevent such interference in the country's election in the future, UK's digital and culture secretary Matthew Hancock said the revelations are "extremely concerning".

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Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), charged with meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, focused on dividing the Americans over race via its 3,517 ads on Facebook.
Democrats from the US House Intelligence Committee last week released 3,517 advertisements that were run on Facebook by the IRA during the 2014-2016 period. Pixabay
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Russian Twitter bots attempted to influence the 2017 UK general election results by promoting Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to an investigation by The Sunday Times.

Conducted in conjunction with Swansea University, the research discovered that in the run up to the election, 6,500 Russian Twitter accounts, many of which are run by Internet robots known as “bots”, supported the Labour Party.

It has been claimed that most of these accounts, which tried to denigrate the Conservative rivals, were created just weeks before the polling day.

The Labour Party's people-powered election campaign attracted huge levels of public support online. We were not aware of any from automated bots, categorically did not pay for any and are not aware of any of our supporters doing so," a Labour Party spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
Representational Image, Pixabay

The Labour Party denied any wrongdoing and said that its “people-powered election campaign” was the reason for its success.

“The Labour Party’s people-powered election campaign attracted huge levels of public support online. We were not aware of any from automated bots, categorically did not pay for any and are not aware of any of our supporters doing so,” a Labour Party spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

The election saw Corbyn’s Labour Party increase its tally by 31 seats. Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a major setback and lost her parliamentary majority in the election.

Urging Twitter to act to prevent such interference in the country’s election in the future, UK’s digital and culture secretary Matthew Hancock said the revelations are “extremely concerning”.

Also Read: Pakistani Christians Not Feeling Safe After The IS Attack

“It is absolutely unacceptable for any nation to attempt to interfere in the democratic elections of another country,” he told The Sunday Times.

“The social media companies need to act to safeguard our democratic discourse and reveal what they know,” Hancock said. (IANS)

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Under Fire For Myanmar Tweets

Dorsey was seen posing with six female journalists in a picture on Twitter, with a poster in his hands carrying the offending anti-Brahmin message: 'Smash Brahminical Patriarchy'

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Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, who faces a lawsuit for hurting Hindu sentiments during his visit to India in November, now faces criticism for promoting Myanmar as a tourist destination despite widespread allegations of human rights abuses in the country.

In a series of tweets, Dorsey said he had travelled to northern Myanmar in November for a meditation retreat.

“The people are full of joy and the food is amazing,” he said, before encouraging his four million followers to visit.

This led to widespread criticism of the Twitter chief, some accused him of ignoring the plight of the Muslim Rohingya minority.

In 2017, Myanmar’s military launched a violent crackdown after Rohingya militants carried out attacks on several police posts. Thousands of people were killed, and human rights organisations said the army has burned land and committed arbitrary killings and rape.

“Writing what is effectively a free tourism advert for them at this time is reprehensible,” one Twitter user wrote in response to Dorsey’s tweets.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

“The tone-deafness here is… wow,” another user said. “This is an extremely irresponsible recommendation,” yet another reads. “Does he pay no attention to the news and the outcry on his own platform?”

The military crackdown had also sparked an exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingyas who have since fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the violence and the destruction of their homes.

The UN has described the operation as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and says senior Myanmar officials should be investigated and tried for genocide.

Mohammed Jamjoom, an Al Jazeera correspondent, who has interviewed Rohingya refugees, said he was left “utterly speechless” by Dorsey’s tweets.

Also Read- Wintertime Ice Growth in Arctic Sea Slows Long-Term Decline: NASA

Dorsey is yet to respond to the criticism, but earlier said he would track the responses to his tweets.

A court in Rajasthan on December 1, asked the police to file a First Information Report against Dorsey for hurting the sentiments of the Brahmin community by posing for a picture holding an anti-Brahmin message.

Dorsey was seen posing with six female journalists in a picture on Twitter, with a poster in his hands carrying the offending anti-Brahmin message: ‘Smash Brahminical Patriarchy’. (IANS)