The first part of 89up's report - Putin’s Brexit? The influence of Kremlin media & bots during the 2016 UK EU referendum - has been reported in The Observer

Part two of 89up's report has been published in The Times.

Russian media interference in EU referendum worth up to £4 million

- Report submitted to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee by digital agency 89up lays bare extent of Russian media interference
- Kremlin-backed outlets RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik had more reach on Twitter for anti-EU content than either Vote Leave or Leave.EU
- Call for parliament to investigate role of UK-based Russian propaganda outlets
- Russian bots reach during EU referendum was significant - equivalent to 29% of total reach of both Vote Leave and Leave.EU Twitter activity

RT and Sputnik published no fewer than 261 media articles on the EU referendum in the UK, or with a strong anti-EU sentiment which mentioned Brexit from 1 January 2016 until 23 June 2016. The report shows the social reach of these anti-EU articles published by the Kremlin-owned channels was 134 million potential impressions, in comparison with a total social reach of just 33 million and 11 million potential impressions for all content shared from the Vote Leave website and Leave.EU website respectively.

Mike Harris, CEO of 89up said:

“The Kremlin’s propaganda channels had three times more impact on Twitter than both the official Leave campaigns combined. The Russian government has two media outlets based in the UK, Sputnik and Russia Today (RT), who ran hundreds of misleading news articles in the run-up to the EU referendum that were seeded across social media. We don’t know how much the Russian government is paying social networks to spread their propaganda, or how much Russia is spending on their media networks. We need Parliament to get to grips with a clear and deliberate attempt by an autocratic foreign power to interfere in our democracy.”

Social media activity by the two channels spiked on the day of the referendum, with both platforms increasing their Twitter activity significantly which matched the surge in Russian bot activity on the day.

Many of the articles by the platforms during the referendum were highly misleading, with RT and Sputnik publishing grossly exaggerated or false stories on European refugee flows, immigration to the UK, the role of MI5 during the referendum and the CIA role in creating the EU.

The report also analyses the impact of Russian bots identified by US Congress. Confirmed Russian bots delivered over 10,000,000 potential Twitter impressions during the EU referendum. To place this in context, this is nearly a third of the potential reach of all tweets from the Vote Leave Twitter account during the period analysed.

 

X
Phone

02034112889

Email

mike@89up.org

Mike Harris
CEO

Mike is the founder and CEO of 89up, Europe's first and biggest impact agency for civil society and non-profits and the co-founder of 90up, a creative and influencer agency. He is also the publisher and owner of Little Atoms, an award-winning magazine distributed globally and a podcast and online magazine enjoyed by a global audience of millions.

Mike has excellent political and media connections, with a strong knowledge of the workings of government and international bodies. His campaign experience delivering cross-party support for a new parliamentary bill; international human rights advocacy work engaging Hollywood celebrities that forced 3 banks to stop selling government bonds to support a dictatorship, leading the press and strategy for an Oscar-winning film, the exposure of lobbyists work for corrupt regimes and supporting the launch of multiple grassroots political movements.

Mike Harris
CEO
More
X
Phone

02034112889

Email

josh@89up.org

Josh Feldberg
Director of Social Media

Josh in an entrepreneur and digital strategist who this year exited Rentify, the startup he co-founded in his kitchen in London 7 years ago. He's also spent over a decade working with some of the world's leading brands including HP, O2 and McDonald's, as well as for leading global politicians, foundations and the British government. Amongst other things, in his role as head of digital for 89up.org he is working for the British government as an advisor to its inquiry into Fake News.

“I help organisations take control of their marketing by putting data and insights at the centre of their campaigns.”

Josh Feldberg
Director of Social Media
More