Minutes after a pair of damaging stories about President Trump and his former associates broke this week, Russian bots unleashed divisive content about the Mollie Tibbetts murder — to distract the public’s attention, according to a report.
A network of Russia-linked Twitter accounts began blitz-tweeting news that the 20-year-old Tibbetts’ murderer was an “illegal immigrant” on Tuesday afternoon, the Independent reported.
The Russian tweetstorm happened right after Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted of bank and tax fraud and Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, implicated the president in a campaign finance felony.
The thousands of tweets were “an apparent attempt to divert attention from explosive news surrounding Donald Trump and his former associates,” the outlet reported.
The Independent cited analysis by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan watchdog group that the Independent says has been tracking Kremlin-linked Twitter operations for the past year.
In the 24 hours following the Tibbetts, Manafort and Cohen news bombshells, #MollieTibbetts become the most shared hashtag among the Russian linked Twitter accounts monitored by the group.
The Russia-linked network also pushed #buildthewall and #buildthedamwall.
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