The following is an excerpt from Mary Papenfuss | July 8, 2018 | Huffingtonpost.com |
It what may be an early onslaught of Kremlin-linked Twitter attacks ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, Russia bots appear to be fueling a wave of criticism targeting Democrats over alleged intimidation in political confrontations and a lack of “civility,” according to bot trackers.
Attacks with the hashtag #WalkAway purport to be from a “grassroots” wave of one-time Democrats who have left the party in part because they say they are so incensed by the hateful and divisive behavior of party members. The message is to “walk away” from ugly confrontations, “intolerance” and hate — and from the Democratic Party.
But the hashtag has been connected to Russian bots. It has ranked as the third or fourth most popular Kremlin-linked hashtag for days, according to bot tracking by the Hamilton 68 site run by the bipartisan Alliance for Securing Democracy, which keeps tabs on Russian activity on the American internet.
Arc Digital has made the same connection in the “strikingly similar” tweets pushing a “familiar narrative” of Democratic “bullying.” Arc traced the campaign from a Facebook group in May and subsequent tweets whose traffic suddenly began to explode late last month.
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