A report has claimed that Russian Twitter bots rallied for Labour during the 2017 UK General Election. It is thought 6,500 accounts disguised to be English people were, in fact, mass-produced accounts pushing messages of support for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn.
The claims come from a report made following research by the Sunday Times and Swansea University.
The Government’s Culture and Digital Secretary, Matt Hancock described the reports as ‘absolutely unacceptable.’ Mr Hancock said “It is absolutely unacceptable for any nation to attempt to interfere in the democratic elections of another country.”
The Labour Party has denied any knowledge of the bots, with the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell describing the allegations as ‘ludicrous and ‘farcical.’
Labour has said that they were “not aware of any from automated bots, categorically did not pay for any and are not aware of any of our supporters doing so”. The party claimed the reason behind its considerable gains was a “people-powered election campaign”
In addition, the Labour Party has claimed that Russia had actually backed the Conservatives, with the Russian embassy in London promoting “Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ slogan”.
Do you think bots have the influence to change a general election result? Comment your thoughts.