Sen. Bernie Sanders, in a recent Democratic debate this Wednesday, suggested that Russians might be using Twitter to spread negativity and hate under the disguise of being his followers.
“All of us remember 2016, and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others try to interfere in our election and divide us up. I’m not saying that’s happening, but it would not shock me,” said Sanders.
When moderators asked Sanders if his Twitter supporters were “making it harder for Democrats to unify in November”, he defended them saying that “99%” of them were “decent human beings”.
He however stated that outside actors, and in this case Russians, might be falsely pretending to be his followers and spreading havoc.
“And if there are a few people who make ugly remarks, who attack trade union leaders, I disown those people. They are not part of our movement,” said the Vermont Democrat.
Pointing out to the misinformation campaign launched by Russian actors back in the 2016 election, Sanders said that there was a possibility of it repeating all over again.
“All of us remember 2016, and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try interfere in our election and divide us up. I’m not saying that’s happening, but it would not shock me,” said Sanders.
While Sanders was suggesting strongly about outside activity and interference on Twitter, the social media platform, however, didn’t seem to think so. Here’s what a Twitter spokesperson said:
“Using technology and human review in concert, we proactively monitor Twitter to identify attempts at platform manipulation and mitigate them. As a standard, if we have reasonable evidence of state-backed information operations, we’ll disclose them following our thorough investigation to our public archive — the largest of its kind in the industry.”
Facebook too spoke along the lines of Twitter and said that it didn’t detect any suspicious activities by bots.
Even if there was any activity, as speculated by Sanders, it would take a substantial time for the truth to come out, as it would involve extensive investigative efforts after which the final verdict would be declared.