How Russia dominates your Twitter feed to promote lies (and Trump, too)

Some of the top hashtags attached to tweets broadcasting #Incirlik #Turkey were #nato, #coup, #benghazi, #trumppence16. Each of these add-on hashtags pointed to recently hot button issues in the U.S. Presidential contest. Bios of these English speaking accounts retweeting the #Incirlik story commonly included the words “god,” “country,” “family,” “conservative,” “Christian,” “America,” “constitution,” and “military.”

Two or three tweets called for prayers for U.S. service members potentially in harms way, suggesting Americans were again being overrun in another Benghazi type scenario. More than 10 percent of English speakers citing #Incirlik contained the word “Trump” in their user profile information. From the public view, it’s difficult to determine which of these English accounts are real Americans supporting the Trump campaign or instead manufactured accounts inciting support for the Trump campaign and fomenting dissent amongst the U.S. electorate.

This melding of Russian-friendly accounts and Trumpkins has been going on for some time.

“I created this list of Russian trolls,” writer Adrian Chen told the Longform podcast in December 2015. “And I check on it once in a while, still. And a lot of them have turned into conservative accounts, like fake conservatives. I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re all tweeting about Donald Trump and stuff.”