Russian Bots Playing a Critical Role in Getting #ReleaseTheMemo Trending


Twitter accounts linked to Russian active measures have been found to be playing a role in getting the “ReleaseTheMemo” hashtag trending on Twitter.  The hashtag references a memo that conservative lawmakers have been calling on congressional leaders to release to the public. It details alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by government officials.

Twitter analytics show a significant increase of activity of more than 500 Twitter accounts linked to Russian active measures, propaganda and disinformation campaigns Russian intelligence services use to influence politics in other countries.  The activity surrounding the FISA memo far exceeded the activity surrounding any other topic over the last couple of days, according to Hamilton 68, a web service launched last year that tracks Russian propaganda efforts.

The spike in activity promoting the hashtag reached 233,000 percent in the past forty-eight hours.  References to the “memo,” increased by 68,000 percent, according to Hamilton.

The memo purportedly details text messages between two FBI agents that show the FBI obtained FISA warrants to surveille the Trump campaign based on information contained in the controversial Steele Dossier.  Democrats have called the memo misleading and “rife with factual inaccuracies.”

The U.S. intelligence community believes Russian bots played a significant role in propagating fake news stories during the 2016 election.  A recent report put together by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, found that the U.S. still lacks a coherent and coordinated approach to dealing with foreign meddling, from Russian and other countries.


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