Scot to be kidding: ‘Russian troll’ turns out to be Glasgow security guard
On Monday, crowdfunded journalism outlet Byline published an article detailing a “complicated” analysis of Twitter page @didgery77332nd, also known as ‘Smoo,’ concluding it’s a “fair assessment” that Smoo is a “foreign-based troll pushing Russian messaging.”
The supposed ‘Russian troll’ takedown comes amid recent unfounded claims that Russian bots sought to influence the Brexit referendum. However, the alleged foreign troll ‘Smoo’ has been tracked down and is actually a security guard from Glasgow, according to The Scotsman newspaper.
The man denied his page was anonymous, telling the Scottish newspaper that Smoo is a pet name from his childhood. “Smoo has been my nickname since I was six years old. It’s not difficult to track me down. People might not agree with my opinions, but that doesn’t make me a Russian troll,” he said.
@didgery77332nd Hi there. I saw the Byline article. If you're really just an average Scot, fancy emailing me proof? My address is in my bio.— Chris McCall (@Dennynews) November 14, 2017
The Byline ‘investigation’ into the social media page was carried out by writer JJ Patrick, who said he undertook the project after the owner of the account responded to his Twitter post about Russian Brexit trolls. Patrick’s analysis details why he suspects Smoo to be a fake Scottish account peddling “Russian or Russian-inspired disinformation”.
Hi @didgery77332nd,It appears on analysis of your account that you aren’t Scottish and are pushing an anti-EU and anti-muslim narrative, and going back to your old account @didgery7733 which stopped tweeting in 2014 you appear to be a Foreign-based troll. Explain yourself.— J.J. Patrick (@J_amesp) November 13, 2017
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 so that shows how easy it is for to wrong 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 #CustardPied— Smoo (@didgery77332nd) November 13, 2017
His reasoning includes that the account spread conspiracist memes and made “horrific use of English.” The Byline article zeroes in on the Smoo account’s language patterns in a failed attempt to debunk it.
“Their use of the word ‘Way’ to replace ‘With’ is not Scottish. In fact, having confirmed this by consulting a broad spectrum of Twitter users from across Scotland, ‘Way’ would almost certainly not be used. Rather, ‘With’ would be substituted with ‘Wae’ or even ‘Wi’.”
The person behind ‘Smoo’ has since tweeted to say his views “are not pro-Russia just anti-crony capitalism & corrupt governments.”
Maybe as a fellow journalist u could do a piece in paper showing how easy it is for journos to get it wrong. I have emailed you go on to my FB and see. My views are not pro russia just anti crony capitalism & corrupt governments.— Smoo (@didgery77332nd) November 14, 2017
RT.com has reached out to both ‘Smoo’ and JJ Patrick for comment.