Canada targeted by Iranian and Russian information operations: Twitter

Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were targeted by state-backed information operations, a newly released trove of Twitter data revels. 

On Tuesday, Twitter Safety published an archive of 373 accounts believed to be working in the service of foreign governments or entities.

According to the tech giant, the accounts were found to have links to Russia, Iran and Armenia. The accounts have since been removed.

A search of the records by True North found that over 2,000 tweets referenced the terms “Trudeau”, “Canada” or “Canadian,” a majority of which were attributed to accounts believed to have ties to Iran. 

With regard to the impact of the campaign, Twitter writes that the Iranian accounts had “low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation.” 

Many of the tweets included in the data set mention immigration to Canada, Iranian-Canadian relations and Canada’s relations with the US. 

“According to reports, CBC removes Donald Trump’s scene from ‘Home Alone 2’ Canadian broadcast. I think he should remove from other things, too,” wrote one account. 

“I sincerely hope Hon. @AhmedDHussen seeks a positive resolution to ALL #DelayedIranianApplications (both Outland and Inland).We are all counting seconds to reach our goal and get to immigrate to Canada while we are still young, full of hope,determination and energy,” wrote another account. 

In total, 1672 tweets by Iranian affiliated accounts targeted Canada or the prime minister. 

Meanwhile, accounts believed to operate out of Russia mentioned the Canadian arctic, Canada’s involvement in South American politics and indigenous relations. 

“If I hear one more liberal in the US say how amazing this tool is; my head will explode. Trudeau stands with racists and murderers in Venezuela while attacking the indigenous in Canada. Bet they fight over who gets to lick Trumps boots first. They have 0 credibility,” claimed one account. 

According to Twitter, two separate networks of Russian state actors were discovered. 

“A number of these accounts amplified narratives that were aligned with the Russian government, while another subset of the network focused on undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability,” claims Twitter Safety.

Meanwhile, separate networks sought to amplify other Russian influence operations targeting the US and the EU.

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