Whistleblowers have revealed that the Kremlin tried to influence the Brexit referendum and US Presidential race using fake social media accounts.

Political analyst Matt Turner said: “I would agree that Russian intervention has become an excuse for losing sides like Hillary and in Brexit.

“Deep down it is an excuse and it is a hyperbolic one at that.”

Researchers have revealed that so-called troll farms run from St Petersburg created more than 400 fake Twitter accounts that posted about Brexit during the referendum campaign.

These activities by Russia were thought to be much more intense during the US election campaign.

Professor of Strategic Thomas Rid said: “Russia has perfected that art of driving wedges into the existing cracks of political systems of their enemies.

“What we have seen in the US is hacking, leaking and then amplification of this content on social media including fake news.

“What we have seen in Germany, France and the UK is not so much hacking and leaking, almost none of that in fact.

“Instead we see amplification operations on social media that try to drive wedges and try to amplify divisions.”

Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of an attack on “the international order” by targeting democracy and spreading fake news.

May claimed Vladimir Putin’s forces had “weaponised information” to sow discord in the west.

The Russian Embassy responded by claiming the Prime Minister was accusing them to distract from problems in the UK.

It has been claimed that Hillary Clinton was the target of a Russian campaign of hacking and fake news throughout her campaign that led to her losing to Trump.

Mr Turner said: “To be honest with you much more of a reason why the Clinton campaign lost and the Remain campaign lost is because they were so dire in the first place.

“It is really dangerous territory when we use the term Russia as a catch-all phrase to justify showing trust in our current inept leaders and inept candidates when in reality they are just covering their own mistakes.”

When asked about how best to fight against information attacks the political analyst claimed it was “snobbish” to assume the people were “too stupid” to notice fake news and Russian accounts.

Anne Applebaum of the LSE claimed there was a number of examples that have come to light during Congressional hearings that reveal attempts to influence democracy.

She sighted Facebook pages and other social media set up in the US and events organised through these pages.

Raising concerns about the possible impact of these activities Ms Applebaum said that their influence can reach beyond Twitter and Facebook.

She said: “Social media often comes broadcast media or lads to mainstream media story it is difficult to separate them.

“It is not as if it is the people on social media that are affected.”

Daily Express

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