Russian Twitter bots: Menace to democracy

28

During elections, the letterboxes of millions of Britons weather month-long assaults from political leaflets. But the age of social media has created an entirely new campaigning battleground – and it may be attracting unwelcome activity from foreign actors.

Recent research suggested that over 6,500 Twitter bots originating in Russia tweeted support for Labour in last year’s general election, in an effort to get Jeremy Corbyn’s party elected.

The revelations were labelled “extremely concerning” by Matt Hancock, the digital and culture secretary, while shadow chancellor John McDonnell called the claims “ludicrous” and suggested that the Russian embassy in London supported the Conservative Party’s…