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24 Apr, 2018 15:58

‘Expert on Russian disinformation’ exposed for spreading disinformation about Twitter users

‘Expert on Russian disinformation’ exposed for spreading disinformation about Twitter users

Defense analyst and wannabe Kremlinologist Ben Nimmo, reportedly responsible for wrongly ‘outing’ a genuine Twitter user as a ‘Russian troll,’ has been attempting to backtrack, much to the amusement of social media users.

The head of the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Labs, described by The Times as "an expert on Russian disinformation," has been studying the activity of suspected pro-Russia Twitter users over the last couple of months. In his analysis, Nimmo identified Twitter user @Ian56789 as a ‘Kremlin troll.’

The claim was challenged when @Ian56789, whose real name is Ian Shilling, was interviewed by Sky News after he had his Twitter account suspended following a spate of 100 tweets a day during a 12-day period from April 7, reaching 23 million users. Shilling is a middle-aged, self-described “ordinary British citizen” who likes to do his own independent research on issues, suggested in his interview that he’s been targeted due to his non-mainstream views on major issues.

READ MORE: Another person accused of being ‘Russian troll’ by Times newspaper for non-mainstream views

Nimmo then took to Twitter to vent his frustration at accusations that he himself has been spreading disinformation or "fake news" – the very practice he accused @Ian56789 of engaging in. Wikileaks has been his primary target.

His issue seems to be around the precise label he gave @Ian56789. Nimmo insists that he has not referred to this account as a Kremlin ‘bot,’ but Twitter user @jamesdoleman asked the question of why he had claimed the individual in question was an "agent of influence"?

Nimmo’s tireless defense has taken the form of a long thread, in which he tweets countless articles on the subject of Russian bots and trolls – though he has yet to prove that Shilling is a ‘Kremlin troll’ – a fact his fellow users haven’t been shy of highlighting.

Another Twitter user highlighted a deleted tweet from Nimmo, where he states: "Looks like @Ian56789, which bore most of the hallmarks of a Kremlin troll, is no long with us."

It comes after Australia-based Syrian journalist @Partisangirl, real name Maram Susli, and 'Finnish activist' Citizen Halo were falsely accused by MSM UK newspapers of being a Russian ‘bot’ and 'troll,' respectively. Some reports suggest the source for these claims is none other than Ben Nimmo.

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