How Russia Dominates Your Twitter Feed to Promote Lies (And, Trump, Too)
August 6, 2016
“Ladies and Gentlemen, We have a situation in #Turkey #Incirlik” the cry went out on Twitter last Saturday night, as news spread of the Turkish forces surrounding the U.S. airbase in Incirlik.
Thousands of armed police had reportedly surrounded the airbase amid swirling rumors of another coup attempt, according to stories tweeted within two minutes of each other onRT.com and Sputnik, the two biggest Russian state-controlled media organizations publishing in English. The stories were instantly picked up by a popular online aggregator of breaking news and prompted hours-long storm of activity from a small, vocal circle of users.
In English, the tweets soon grouped into certain patterns of similar (and sometimes identical) content. The first were panicky expressions of concern about nuclear weapons allegedly stored at Incirlik:
- #Incirlik There r 25 underground vaults, each holds up to 4 bombs. The estimated total is 50 B61 thermonuclear bombs—1/4 of B61 stockpile.
- Turkey is soon going to acquire some nice nuclear weapons unless Obama pulls his finger out & does something
- #Incirlik does anybody else find it ODD that there’s a lot of dump trucks. Big enough to carry 90 nuclear warheads
- What exactly is going on with the nuclear weapons in Turkey? And why the hell are they there, of all places?