In the past 48 hours, on Twitter, the hashtag #ResignPaulPaul, has seen an increase due to bots and trolls that are linked to the Russians. This is happening as House Speaker Paul Ryan is arriving at his home in Wisconsin for a month long recess from Washington D.C.
The increase of Russian bots attacking Republican lawmakers was first recognized by the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy. It was formed to “defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions” after the 2016 presidential election.
The Alliance developed a dashboard which picked up on the increase on Monday morning. It matched the surges of hashtags that were used by other Russian bots, such as #TrumpTV, #Magnitsky, #Fake and #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion.
The dashboard originated last week by Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent. It’s not that common for the dashboard to pick up the activity of the Russian bots that go after Republican members. Also, Ryan isn’t the only that bots went after that demanded his removal. Over the past several days, the hashtag #FireMcMaster was also started by these bots and trolls. This hashtag was ultimately picked up by some conservative fake news sites that Trump follows, like Breitbart.
As Trump is on a 17-day vacation at his golf course in Bedminster, these hashtags can easily end up on his Twitter feed. These fake Twitter bots seem to always support Trump. Additionally, a few months ago, we figured out half of his supporters on Twitter are fake.
Here are some reactions on Twitter who noticed the fake bots:
This is remarkable. Track Russian Twitter bots in real time. See what propaganda they’re pushing. https://t.co/oB5jNEMvd6
— Bill Prady (@billprady) August 5, 2017
Twitter just suspended 1,000's of them. Yes, thousands of Russian bots. https://t.co/A4J4zk2BOe
— Jon Hardie (@BonhoefferLives) August 7, 2017
— Astorix ❄️??️? (@Astorix23) August 7, 2017
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) August 4, 2017
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