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Officials probe 2,800 Russian bots that ‘spread confusion’

  • Thousands of robotic accounts sowed doubt about attempted murder of Skripal 
  • The campaign may have reached as many as 7.5million people in Great Britain 
  • More than one in four of the suspect posts identified by UK officials were created by just six accounts 

Russia mounted a huge disinformation campaign online in the wake of the Salisbury spy attack, British officials believe.

Thousands of robotic accounts were involved in sowing doubts about the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, reaching at least 7.5million people in the UK.

‘We have seen the Russian state deploy an extensive disinformation campaign around the Salisbury incident,’ a British official told the Times.

Thousands of robotic accounts sowed doubt about attempted murder of Sergei Skripal

‘This campaign curiously began before the prime minister announced that Russia was behind the attack.’

The so-called ‘bot’ accounts on sites such as Twitter numbered an estimated 2,800, and their messages were interacted with 75million times.

The automated accounts are computer programs which can post on social media hundreds of times a day.

Monitoring reports prepared for the British government found there was a 70 per cent chance the suspect accounts were bots.

More than one in four of the suspect posts identified by UK officials were created by just six accounts.

Although it is difficult to identify whether an online account is a bot or controlled by a real human operator, the government analysts are thought to have determined many are bots based on who they follow online and how many times they post. 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk