‘Expert on Russian disinformation’ exposed for spreading disinformation about Twitter 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.
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.
It can't be this piece, because I called him a pro-Kremlin troll and probable influence account, based on the evidence at the time (stolen profile pic, lies about bio, systematic pro-Kremlin posting, systematic abuse of Kremlin critics)https://t.co/l5jpzRx0BT— Ben Nimmo (@benimmo) April 24, 2018
In other words, it looks like you've "literally" repeated a false accusation against me, and demonstrably failed to do any of the basic due diligence on primary sources which would have allowed you to check it.— Ben Nimmo (@benimmo) April 24, 2018
So, what +is+ your source? pic.twitter.com/smUr4iGX1o
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."
You really still think the guy is a Russian "agent of influence'?— James Doleman (@jamesdoleman) April 24, 2018
You did literally produce a fake news story though, and you did defame a British retiree, and celebrated very publicly when he was taken offline... The fact that you used the word "troll" instead of "bot" doesn't change the obvious Mcarthyite nature of the slur. pic.twitter.com/KmijOtduyy— AIH #NoWar (@Aheezay_) April 24, 2018
Why is Ian a "troll"? How do you classify who is a troll and who is engaged in debate? You have a fairly strong point of view and engage in robust debate. Are you then a troll?— Curious Chak (@Curious_Chak) April 24, 2018
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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