Reddit has linked account activity involving the leak and amplification of sensitive UK-US trade talks on its platform during the ongoing UK election campaign to a suspected Russian political influence operation. Or, to put it more plainly, the social network suspects that Russian operatives are behind the leak of sensitive trade data -- likely with the intention of impacting the UK's General Election campaign. The country goes to the polls next week, on December 12. The UK has been politically deadlocked since mid 2016 over how to implement the result of the referendum to leave the European Union . The minority Conservative government has struggled to negotiate a brexit deal that parliament backs.
Ministers have been told they can no longer say there have been "no successful examples" of Russian disinformation affecting UK elections, after the apparent hacking of an NHS dossier seized on by Labour during the last campaign. The dropping of the old line is the first official admission of the impact of Kremlin efforts to distort Britain's political processes, and comes after three years of the government's refusal to engage publicly with the threat. Cabinet Office sources confirmed the position been quietly changed while an investigation into the alleged hacking of the 451-page cache of emails from a special adviser's personal email account by the security services concludes. Boris Johnson and his predecessor as prime minister, Theresa May, have both appeared reluctant to discuss Kremlin disinformation, with Johnson refusing to allow a report on Russian infiltration in the UK to be published before the election. Versions of the "no successful examples" statement were regularly deployed in response to allegations of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, to the frustration of MPs who believed a full investigation was necessary.
An anonymous online poster who disseminated documents later brandished by Jeremy Corbyn as evidence the Conservatives would put the NHS "on the table" in US trade talks was part of a campaign directed by Moscow, the site hosting the papers has said. On Friday evening, Reddit confirmed it has banned 61 accounts; including that of a user called Gregoriator, who it believes was part of a Russian information operation known as Secondary Infektion. The anonymous user posted copies of the leaked official documents on the site in late October. Corbyn presented the same documents at a news conference last week, saying they "leave Boris Johnson's denials [that the NHS would be for sale] in absolute tatters" and touting them as "evidence that, under Boris Johnson, the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale". Reddit insisted the post garnered minimal interest at the time and Labour has declined to reveal where it obtained the documents.
Research firm Graphika says a shadowy group of operatives in Russia produced more than 2,500 pieces of false information across seven languages on 300 different social media platforms. In one example, a fabricated tweet appears as if Sen. Marco Rubio is accusing British authorities of spying on President Trump. Research firm Graphika says a shadowy group of operatives in Russia produced more than 2,500 pieces of false information across seven languages on 300 different social media platforms. In one example, a fabricated tweet appears as if Sen. Marco Rubio is accusing British authorities of spying on President Trump. For the past six years, an obscure disinformation campaign by Russian operatives has flooded the Internet with false stories in seven languages and across 300 social media platforms virtually undetected, according to new report published on Tuesday by social media researchers.
LONDON – The leak and distribution of classified U.K.-U.S. trade documents online is tied to a previous Russian disinformation campaign, the social media site Reddit said Friday, fueling fears that Moscow is seeking to interfere in Britain's upcoming election. Britain's opposition Labour Party seized on the leaked documents on Nov. 27, saying they showed the ruling Conservatives were plotting to offer the state-run National Health Service for sale in trade talks with Washington. The NHS is much loved by Britons and has become an important issue in the country's election campaign, in which Labour trails the Conservatives despite cutting its lead in some polls. But researchers say that the way the documents were first shared on Reddit and then promoted online closely resembled a disinformation campaign uncovered earlier this year. That operation -- known as Secondary Infektion -- attempted to spread false narratives across at least 30 online platforms.