UK authorities have been looking for signs of Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum after reports that Kremlin-backed groups used social media to influence elections and sow discord in the US and other countries.
“We are facing nothing less than a crisis in our democracy,” Collins said in a statement. He cited “the systematic manipulation of data to support the relentless targeting of citizens, without their consent, by campaigns of disinformation and messages of hate.”
Sputnik and Russia Today, published 261 articles supporting Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc. Those articles then somehow reached more users on Twitter than the content produced by the two main campaigns for Brexit.
A parliamentary investigation into the role of social media in the spread of fake news recommends a strict new regime to curb campaigns of disinformation.