After the 17 shooting deaths at a South Florida high school, Russia-linked bots flooded Twitter with pro-gun messages, Wired is reporting.
Groups tracking the Twitter accounts linked to Russia reported an increase in tweets regarding gun control, the National Rifle Association and related topics after the Wednesday murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, according to Wired.
Hamilton 68, which tracks Twitter activity from those accounts linked to Russia, reported the sites in question were dominated by shooting-related terms, including the use of hashtags for the name of the accused killer, Nikolas Cruz
"Over time the hashtag moves out of the bot network to the general public," Ash Bhat of Botcheck.me told Wired.
In other instances, bots jump on existing hashtags to amplify a certain message, Wired reported.
One link shared frequently includes the "deranged" Instagram account of the shooter. Wired claimed characterizing shooters as "deranged" or "lone wolves" is a popular strategy of pro-gun groups.
Meanwhile, Bret Schafer, a research analyst for the alliance for Securing Democracy, said Russian-linked bots were just as active following the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas last year.
"Because of the politicized nature of them, they are perfect fodder to take an extreme position and start spreading memes that have a very distinct political position on gun control," he said.
And Vanity Fair reported the disinformation campaigns on Twitter have become increasingly unmanageable. Former Twitter executives said it is difficult to monitor the hundreds of millions of tweets on Twitter every day.
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