In a submission to the Congress, Twitter stated that Russian-linked bots shared Donald Trump's tweets close to half a million times as 2016 US Presidential Election campaign was heading towards its final stages.
According to a report by Bloomberg, automated accounts retweeted Trump's tweets as many as 4,70,000 times from 1 September to 15 November 2016. The report pointed out that this accounted for more than 4 percent of the total retweets he received during the period.
Twitter revealed the approximation of numbers in documents posted as a response to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee following a hearing on the issue on 31 October 2017. The papers also revealed that the Russian-linked bots retweeted Democrat Hillary Clinton's post less than 50,000 times during the same period.
A deeper dive into the report also reveals the social media giant identified about 2.12 million automated tweets related to the election from Russian-linked accounts. These tweets collectively received close to 455 million impressions within the first seven days of being posted. “Some of the accounts appear to have attempted to organize rallies and demonstrations, and several engaged in abusive behaviour and harassment,” Twitter mentioned in the submitted documents.
Earlier this month, Twitter said that it had removed close to 50,000 accounts linked to Russia and turned over details to investigating authorities. The new data revealed by the company demonstrates the scope of the impact of the alleged Russian bots during the 2016 US Presidential elections.