Healthcare

Nearly 600 Russian troll accounts tweeted about ObamaCare: report

Nearly 600 Russian-linked troll accounts posted conservative, anti-ObamaCare messages to Twitter from 2014 through this past May, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to research from Clemson University, the Internet Research Agency (IRA) tweeted nearly 10,000 messages about health policy and ObamaCare.

Eighty percent of those tweets had conservative-leaning political messages, often disparaging the health-care law, a Journal analysis found.

The IRA is a "troll farm" based in St. Petersburg that seeks to sow division among the electorate. The company was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in February over its alleged attempts to meddle in the 2016 election.

Health care is playing a major role in the mid-term elections, and experts said the tweets are an example of how Russia is continuing to use social media to its advantage in a campaign for influence over U.S. elections.

Twitter shut down the accounts once congressional investigators unearthed their origin, but intelligence experts told the Journal the assault is continuing through similar accounts and channels.

Pro-ObamaCare tweets peaked around the spring of 2016, as Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were in the middle of a bruising Democratic presidential campaign. The tweets were likely aimed at dividing their supporters.

According to the report, anti-ObamaCare tweets intensified in spring 2017 and again that summer, as congressional Republicans were ramping up an ultimately failed effort to repeal ObamaCare.

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