Twitter accounts sharing Louisiana information has ties to Russia

Two Twitter accounts that shared some of the state's biggest stories had Russian ties.

NEW ORLEANS- They are issues that sent people into the streets. From the confederate monuments to the ambush attack on Baton Rouge officers and deputies last year, many people in Louisiana experienced it through social media sites like Twitter. However now, we're learning two Twitter accounts that shared information on some of thestate's biggest stories had Russian ties. 


"It's not too surprising. What the Russians always like to do is inject chaos into stuff," Chris Fettweis, Associate Professor of Political Science at Tulane University, said. 

According to our partners at The New Orleans Advocate, @batonrougevoice and @neworleanson are two of nearly 3,000 Twitter accounts belonging to Russia's Internet Research Agency, the same agency tied to the Kremlin. Now they being investigated by the Justice Department of potentially spreading political messages during last year's presidential election. 

WWL-TV looked up the accounts and both of them have been suspended. 

Fettweis says these fake accounts are clearly a foreign attempt to influence issues close to home. 

"I would imagine they're doing it everywhere. And they have enough people working to do this everywhere if they wanted to. I've heard recent reports that the Chinese have 40,000 people working essentially on internet related stuff. And the Russians probably have equal numbers or perhaps a little bit fewer.  So, they have to do something," Fettweis said. 

Both accounts reportedly shared information about the 2016 Baton Rouge flooding, stories with reliable information. 

"The way the Russians work a lot, half of that stuff gonna be true...and half of its made up. So, they'll hook you in with the true stuff. Stuff that you can confirm elsewhere. Then when it looks like a reliable source, they'll draw you into a stupid direction," Fettweis said. 

Fettweis says this should be a lesson to be mindful about what you read, and where you get information from. 

"We've never going to get rid of it. Even if we get rid of all of the Russians, there's enough crazy people in this country that will keep us all busy," Fettweis said. 
 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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