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  • Writer's pictureLucian@going2paris.net

This Is Just Sick

Charlottesville

March 21, 2023


Who knows how many people might have read these misleading tweets. Hopefully few. It's probably clear that I don't think the benefits of Twitter outweigh its costs. To me it's like our Southern border -- we really should know who is coming into our country. We really should know who is writing a tweet that we rely on -- and I don't think that is possible,


The article:


After Ohio train derailment in East Palestine, pro-Russia Twitter accounts spread misleading claims

David Klepper


Associated Press


WASHINGTON — Soon after a train derailed and spilled toxic chemicals in Ohio last month, anonymous pro-Russian accounts started spreading misleading claims and anti-American propaganda about it on Twitter, using Twitter's new verification system to expand their reach while creating the illusion of credibility.The accounts, which parroted Kremlin talking points on myriad topics, claimed without evidence that authorities in Ohio were lying about the true impact of the chemical spill. The accounts spread fearmongering posts that preyed on legitimate concerns about pollution and health effects and compared the response to the derailment with America's support for Ukraine following its invasion by Russia.


Some of the claims pushed by the pro-Russian accounts were verifiably false, such as the suggestion that the news media had covered up the disaster or that environmental scientists traveling to the site had been killed in a plane crash. But most were more speculative, seemingly designed to stoke fear or distrust. Examples include unverified maps showing widespread pollution, posts predicting an increase in fatal cancers and others about unconfirmed mass animal die-offs.


"Biden offers food, water, medicine, shelter, payouts of pension and social services to Ukraine! Ohio first! Offer and deliver to Ohio!" posted one of the pro-Moscow accounts, which boasts 25,000 followers and features an anonymous location and a profile photo of a dog. Twitter awarded the account a blue check mark in January.


Regularly spewing anti-US propaganda, the accounts show how easily authoritarian states and Americans willing to spread their propaganda can exploit social media platforms like Twitter in an effort to steer domestic discourse.


The accounts were identified by Reset, a London-based nonprofit that studies social media's impact on democracy, and shared with The Associated Press. Felix Kartte, a senior advisor at Reset, said the report's findings indicate Twitter is allowing Russia to use its platform like a bullhorn.


"With no one at home in Twitter's product safety department, Russia will continue to meddle in US elections and in democracies around the world," Kartte said.


Twitter did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

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