TRACKING RUSSIAN INFLUENCE OPERATIONS ON TWITTER
Between December 1 and December 8, we examined 60 articles that were among the top URLs shared by Kremlin-oriented accounts on Twitter. The most prominent theme (featured in 18% of examined URLs) was an attempt to discredit the FBI, especially after it was revealed that an agent had been demoted for sending anti-Trump texts. The Michael Flynn plea was the subject of 15% of URLs; of those URLs, 45% attacked the credibility of the FBI and the remaining 55% criticized ABC for an erroneous Trump-Flynn report or the Obama administration for allegedly “green lighting” communication between Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak. Other prominent topics were the IOC’s decision to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Games (8%), the not-guilty verdict in the Kate Steinle case/immigration issues (7%), and sexual misconduct (14% – half attacked accused Democrats and the other half defended Roy Moore). Articles on geopolitics featured Syria (6 URLs), immigration in the EU (2 URLs), Ukraine (1 URL), and North Korea (1 URL). The article on North Korea was the only URL critical of President Trump.