Support for Brett Kavanaugh seems especially high among Russian propagandists

By Steven Melendez

September 28, 2018

With the Senate Judiciary Committee voting on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the controversial federal judge is getting support from Russia-linked Twitter disinformation campaigns, writes researcher Jonathon Morgan on Twitter.

“The Russia-linked disinformation we’re seeing has largely avoided domestic U.S. politics, instead focusing on foreign policy issues in Syria, Israel, and Iran,” writes Morgan, the founder of New Knowledge, an Austin-based company that specializes in fighting online disinformation. “But true to form, they’re trying to sow discord by amplifying this polarizing conversation.”

Hamilton 68, a project of the Alliance for Securing Democracy that also tracks Russian online influence efforts, also listed “#kavanaugh” and “#kavanaughhearings” as its top two hashtags among accounts it tracks Friday morning. Other pro-Kavanaugh hashtags, including “#confirmkavanaugh” and “#confirmkavanaughnow,” also featured in the top 10.

Morgan didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from Fast Company, but he wrote on Twitter that Russians may attempt to use other high-profile sex crimes allegations to divide Americans.

“Expect to see more disinformation whenever sexual assault is front and center in future news cycles,” he wrote.

Kavanaugh’s nomination is expected to be approved by the Judiciary Committee despite the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor who alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were teenagers in the 1980s.