Shooting in Florida: the Russian bots rocking the topic of gun reform in the United States

Shooting in Florida: the Russian bots rocking the topic of gun reform in the United States

Literally an hour after the first reports of the bloody shooting in Florida, which occurred a week earlier, Twitter accounts allegedly linked to Russia, began to spread message, in which bots are vehemently discussed the topic of free circulation of weapons in the United States.

New York Times writes that some of the accounts picked up the news with the speed of cable TV channels and have adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow (arms control now). Others used #gunreformnow (gun reform now) and #Parklandshooting (shooting in Parkland).

Shooting in Florida: the Russian bots rocking the topic of gun reform in the United States

Last week on Wednesday, February 14, before the tragic events that occurred in the school of Parkland in Florida, many of these accounts dealt with the investigation of the Russian interference in the presidential elections held in the United States in the fall of 2016. Investigations about the Russian trace in the election campaign and now leads the special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Jonathon Morgan head the company New Knowledge that tracks misinformation on the Internet, notes that the bots focused on a variety of topics that in some way can make a rift in the life of American society. This happens regularly, he said.

In the US one of the most sensitive issues is the issue of regulation of arms trafficking, and in these debates the proponents of the Second amendment to the U.S. Constitution are opposed by supporters of gun control.

All messages from the accounts or automated bots were aimed at increasing fragmentation and obstruction in reaching a compromise on circulation of weapons in the country, experts say.

The activities of automated Twitter accounts closely watched by researchers. In 2017, the «Alliance for the defence of democracy» in cooperation with the Washington research organization «the German Marshall Fund» created a website that tracks hundreds of Twitter accounts of real people, as well as alleged bots, which are associated with Russia.

The researchers closely monitor the Twitter accounts that publish similar posts with the famous Russian propaganda media. To detect the bot, they are looking for a number of distinctive characteristics, for example, a huge number of posts coinciding with the content of hundreds of other accounts.

The researchers reported that they watched as boats started to post messages about the shooting in Parkland shortly after it happened.

14 Feb 2018 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz made an armed attack on a school in Florida, which was previously excluded. He killed 17 people and wounded 14. Shortly after the attack, Cruz was arrested, he later admitted his guilt.