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Russian support for Trump on Twitter started shortly after he announced bid: report

A new analysis of Twitter data finds that Russian Twitter support for President Trump started shortly after he launched his White House bid.

According to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal, support for Trump from Russian-linked Twitter accounts started weeks after Trump announced his run for president in June of 2015.

Previously, a U.S. intelligence assessment said Russian support over social media began as early as December 2015.

{mosads}The analysis by the newspaper — which looked through 159,000 deleted tweets from accounts operated by the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency — found the support may have started much earlier and showed the accounts offered significantly more praise for Trump than criticism.

One account, @TamaFlan, in August tweeted: “#TrumpBecause It’s time for @BarackObama and @HillaryClinton to go quietly into the night #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.”

The accounts also attacked Hillary Clinton.

Last week, Facebook, Google and Twitter officials were grilled by lawmakers from both parties on the Senate Judiciary Committee who pushed the companies for more answers on how their platforms were used by Russia.

Testimony from the companies released last week revealed that posts from Russian agents on Facebook reached 126 million users over a two-year period before the election, while Twitter published more than 131,000 messages from Russia agents.

More than 1,000 videos from Russian agents were uploaded to Google’s YouTube.

Company representatives testified last Tuesday that this represented a small number of the posts, messages and videos about the election on their services.

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