The Russian election meddling controversy has refused to go away. In fact, it has now moved from the United States to the United Kingdom. Just like in the US, officials of the UK government feel that there was an unjustified interference by Russia in the Brexit vote and the 2017 general election. In its typical modus operandi, Russia is assumed to have used several social media accounts to spread fake news harmful to UK’s agenda during elections.
Investigations have been opened by the UK’s Election Commission and the House of Commons’ culture, media, and sports committee. The parallel investigations have requested the two social media giants to provide information on the activities of social media accounts originating in Russia or run by Russian affiliates. In
The Chairperson of the House of Commons’ culture, media and sports committee Mr. Damian Collins had last month written to Facebook, Google and Twitter requesting for information on suspicious Russian linked groups. The information Mr. Collin sought was to cover the group’s activities in regard to the two electioneering periods. In a reply, the two social media Giants pledged to cooperate with the two investigating agencies. The agreement to cooperate was revealed today when the House Committee released its correspondence with the two organizations.
Facebook’s Simon Milner in his reply acknowledged receipt of UK agencies request for cooperation and pledged that they intended to provide more information in the second week of December. Twitter’s Nick Pickles also pledged to provide more information in the coming weeks. He was however forced to come to the defense of Twitter’s bots whose high ability to actively spread huge chunks of information may have been misused to spread propaganda. Mr. Nick Pickles is however of the opinion that not all robots are bad. Many of them could be used positively to enhance user’s needs. In any case, not all high activity accounts are bots.