286% surge in Russian Twitter bots on Mueller report

Robert Mueller

There was a massive surge in Russian-linked Twitter bots and trolls on the micro-blogging platform after the release of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation.

George Kamide, Director at digital risk protection firm SafeGuard Cyber told ZDNet late Friday said that his company observed a “286 per cent increase in Russian bot and troll activity on Twitter following the release of the long-awaited Mueller Report”.

SafeGuard Cyber also found that the number of unique bots and trolls also increased by 48 per cent from the previous day.

“Twitter bot and troll hashtag use increased 852 per cent overall, with a 5,000 per cent increase in usage for the #mueller hashtag, by far the most popular,” said the cyber security firm.

The top five hashtags used were: #mueller, #muellerreport, #trump, #barr, and #russia.

“Through proprietary algorithms, manual analysis, and correlation against 155 fact-checking organisations, the company’s researchers are able to attribute bot and troll operators to Russia,” Kamide told ZDNet.

In October last year, Twitter revealed over nine million tweets that were linked to 3,841 accounts associated with Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA).

In January this year, Twitter removed an additional 418 accounts linked to Russian entities.

Russia has dismissed Mueller’s report, saying it contains “no proven evidence” that Moscow interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

The US Justice Department will release Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation to Congress and the public by “mid-April, if not sooner”, Attorney General Bill Barr has said.