The Russian-linked bots have used US start-up mechanisms, to carry out a disinformation program on social networks and thus intervene in American elections, Bloomberg reported.
“Data disclosed this week by Twitter Inc. showed that hundreds of accounts affiliated with the Russia-based Internet Research Agency used services offered by IFTTT, RoundTeam Inc. and Dlvr.it Inc. to automate and disperse their divisive messages more widely,” the source added.
Most of the content associated with Russian bots was distributed through IFTTT and contained hyperlinks that redirect readers to other sites and blogs of these fake accounts.
“The Russian-linked accounts were using IFTTT a lot late last year and early this year, possibly to disguise the origin of the information they were spreading,” said Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab.
IFTTT co-founder Linden Tibbets said the startup "is actively investigating Twitter’s recent data set release and we intend to take thorough actions to remove and reduce such abuse where appropriate.” According to him, 4,600 Twitter handles released in the data set, 256 were connected to IFTTT accounts and have now been suspended. The startup has more than 15 million users.