Makes an attempt by Russia-linked social media accounts to affect occasions within the US apparently weren’t restricted to final yr’s US election.

A community of Twitter accounts suspected of hyperlinks to Russia had been used this weekend to stoke the controversy over whether or not NFL gamers ought to stand for pregame performances of the nationwide anthem, The New York Occasions reported late Wednesday.  The accounts pushed each side of the talk, utilizing hashtags reminiscent of #boycottnfl, #standforouranthem and #takeaknee, the newspaper reported.

Researchers on the Alliance for Securing Democracy  have been publicly monitoring 600 Twitter accounts they’ve linked to Russian affect operations. These accounts, operated by human customers and suspected bots alike, pushed the opposing messages surrounding the NFL and the taking part in of the nationwide anthem, researchers mentioned.

Twitter did not instantly reply to a request for remark.

The revelation comes because the Senate and Home of Representatives put together to carry hearings inspecting the function social media might have performed in alleged meddling within the 2016 election by Russian operatives. Twitter, Fb and Google-parent Alphabet have reportedly been invited to look.

Fb CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who at first downplayed the impression his firm’s social community might have had on the unfold of false information, has now embraced these considerations and is working to handle them. These efforts embrace working with information organizations to establish false studies and shutting down promoting entry to accounts that repeatedly unfold it.

Russian operatives reportedly used Fb Occasions to remotely set up political protests within the US, together with a 2016 anti-immigration rally in Idaho. The social media large advised The Every day Beast earlier this month it had “shut down a number of promoted occasions” as half an takedown operation geared toward cleansing up the platform’s occasion administration and invitation device.

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