Russian-linked Twitter bots are back in the news, and this time they are showing support for
controversial Fox New personality, Laura Ingraham.
Ingraham recently has been under harsh criticism over her attacks on David
Hogg and several of the other students from the Parkland shooting. Have no
fear, however, the Russian bots are here! According to Hamilton 68, a website
that tracks the spread of Russian propaganda on Twitter, #IStandWithLaura
spiked over 2800% over the weekend, and for a period Saturday evening was
the top trending campaign among Russians. The website, botcheck.me tracked
that the Twitters of Ingraham, Hogg, and Fox News were in the top handles
being tweeted by bots, and “David Hogg” and “Laura Ingraham” were the
top phrases being used.
Being in the midst of the storm has been the main focus for the use of Russian
bots, and this isn’t the first incident relating to the Parkland shooting that they
have been deployed. Initially, after the shooting, the bots quickly took to
Twitter to convey false information and discord amongst users.
Jonathon Morgan, CEO of New Knowledge, recently told the New York Times.
“This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this… “The bots
focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically.”
This latest controversy stems from remarks made from Ingraham on Hogg
and his rejection of her apology after he lashed back out calling for a boycott
of her program, causing sponsors to consider their relationships with the news
personality, and several including Johnson & Johnson, Ruby Tuesday, Hulu,
and Jenny Craig to pull their advertisements from her program.
In an interview with CNN, Hogg called Ingraham a “bully”, stating “ “It’s
disturbing to know that somebody can bully so many people and just get away
with it, especially to the level that she did. No matter who somebody is, no
matter how big or powerful they may seem, a bully is a bully, and it’s
important that you stand up to them.”
Ingraham will not be airing on Fox this week, announcing she was taking a
break for Easter.