Russian Twitter trolls stoke anti-immigrant lies ahead of Canadian election - 2019-07-23
Russian troll activity on Twitter aimed at influencing public opinion has attracted a lot of attention in the United States and other western democracies. Canadians may feel it's not an issue here. But a recent examination of Twitter data suggests there are reasons to be concerned as the country heads into a federal election.
Here's why: Our research shows Russian trolls were trying to stoke divisions among Canadians by tweeting fake news stories and Islamaphobic statements after the Québec mosque shootings in 2017. The Russians have used similar techniques to disrupt and sow dissent in other countries. It's reasonable to assume the same thing could happen in advance of the October election.
The Québec mosque terrorist incident on Jan. 29, 2017, was a horrific event that created a great deal of fear among Muslims living in Canada and elsewhere. Although Alexandre Bissonnette, a man with links to white nationalism, confessed to murdering the six Muslim victims and injuring many others, some media outlets initially focused on a Moroccan man as the alleged terrorist on the first day, reinforcing the stereotype of Muslim men as terrorists.