Presented as a statement of fact, but without the slightest evidence to back it up, the report states: “The Russian government has sought to influence democracy in the United Kingdom through disinformation, cyber hacking, and corruption.”
It added that “false or inflammatory stories circulated by bots and trolls, allegations of cyber hacking, stories in Russian state-sponsored media outlets playing up fears of migration and globalisation, and allegations of corrupt foreign influence on political parties and candidates”.
The report also referred to UKIP as a “far-right” party and appeared to be under the impression that Nigel Farage was still the Party Leader. The senators accused Farage of not only fanning anti-EU sentiment but he also “criticised European sanctions on Russia, and provided flattering assessments of Russian President Putin”.
The facts surrounding the conspiracy myths about Russian meddling have been noted, but they did not seem to stop the US senators:
According to Twitter, Russia Today only spent $1 031.99 on a total of 6 “referendum related” advertisements during the campaign and they were only sponsored tweets.
The Russian Internet Research Agency spent literally cents on 3 adverts viewed only 200 times during the referendum campaign.
These “interferences” are enough to influence the outcome of any election, let alone a country-wide plebiscite. It comes as no surprise that the politician who signed off the report is a Democratic Party Senator.
Patrick Leahy, signed off the study claiming that UK campaign finance laws do not require disclosure of political donations if they are from “the beneficial owners of non-British companies” in the UK, but could not present any evidence of this and only said that it “may have” been possible.
A British academic study released in December already had raised serious doubts on speculation that Russia might have exploited social media to try to influence Britain’s 2016 referendum to leave the European Union.
After examining two weeks of tweets in June 2016, shortly before the June 23 referendum, the study found that only 84 of the identified Russian accounts posted about the referendum. The study had sifted through almost 3 000 Twitter accounts previously linked to Russia.
The study, from the Oxford Internet Institute, showed no hard evidence, even taking into account the patterns already disclosed in the United States, the New York Times reported.
Even Facebook, confounding expectations, said in December last year that the company had found no hard evidence of a Russian efforts to interfere in the British referendum.