Brexit: 'No evidence' that Russian Federation used YouTube to influence referendum

Brexit: 'No evidence' that Russian Federation used YouTube to influence referendum

Brexit: 'No evidence' that Russian Federation used YouTube to influence referendum

Twitter's United Kingdom policy chief Nick Pickles told the House of Commons select committee at a hearing taking place today in Washington DC that 49 accounts linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency tweeted a collective 942 times during the Brexit campaign.

The company has consistently downplayed suggestions that Russian groups abused its platform to spread fake news around the referendum.

At the same hearing, Simon Millner, a Facebook official, said the UK Election Commission had asked the company to investigate whether false information from Russian Federation about the referendum was being circulated through its platform.

As is known, on June 23, 2016, the British voted for exiting the EU.

"Forty-nine such accounts were active during the referendum campaign, which represents less than 0.005% of the total number of accounts that tweeted about the referendum", he said. They confirmed the information above and said, "These tweets cumulatively were retweeted 461 times and were liked 637 times. These are very low levels of engagement".

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United Kingdom officials have been pressing Facebook and Twitter to investigate whether Russian-based accounts attempted to influence the 2016 Brexit vote.

As part of its inquiry, Britain's Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Committee is taking evidence from internet companies like YouTube, Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Twitter has finally admitted Russian-linked accounts were trying to affect the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Last year, BuzzFeed News published news of City University's researchers who claimed to have uncovered a network of 13,000 suspected bots tweeting around the time of Brexit. Twitter later claimed a small fraction of the bot's accounts were registered in Russian Federation.

The academic study that has come closest to matching Twitter's findings is one from the Oxford Internet Institute, which found 105 accounts tweeting 16,000 times in the run-up to the referendum. In a statement on Thursday, Twitter repeated the Oxford study's conclusion that "we found little evidence of links to Russian sources".

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