In the last 48 hours, Congress has contended with how to end a government shutdown that began over the weekend, and Russian Twitter bots have made every effort to blame that shutdown on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
According to tracking data on Hamilton 68, a site established by the Alliance for Securing Democracy (and housed at the German Marshall Fund of the United States) to track the activity of Russian Twitter bots, #schumershutdown was used by accounts linked to Russian influence operations 576 times in the last 48 hours.
Other top hashtags include #releasethememo, in reference to a four-page document compiled by a group of House Republicans on the Department of Justice special counsel Robert Muller’s investigation, and #maga — Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
Twitter recently conducted a retroactive investigation into Russian interference and activity on their platform related to the 2016 presidential election. As a result of this investigation, the company emailed nearly 700,000 users in the U.S. to let them know that they had followed, retweeted or liked a tweet from one or more Russia-linked accounts.
In total, Twitter identified 50,258 automated accounts that were Russian-linked and tweeting election-related content during the 2016 election, which the company characterized as a “challenge to democratic societies everywhere.”