US-based social media platform Reddit said Friday that distribution of a highly-classified dossier brandished by Jeremy Corbyn related to an alleged plan by Conservatives to sell off the NHS was masterminded by Russia, Reuters reported.
Reddit said that it had identified and blacklisted 61 accounts related to the promotion of leaked papers, in a bid to prevent possible “vote manipulation” and “misuse of the platform”.
“We were recently made aware of a post on Reddit that included leaked documents from the UK”, Reddit said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters. “We investigated this account and the accounts connected to it, and today we believe this was part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia”.
Moscow has not yet issued any statements with regard to these accusations.
In late November, UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed to have obtained an official dossier detailing “secret talks” between Washington and London under Theresa May’s government about the purported sell off of the UK’s National Health Service to the US. Corbyn insisted that the potential deal between the US and Tory government would rapidly raise the cost of medical services for Britons.
The dossier has been circulating on Reddit since October after being uploaded by a user named “gregoratior” and then reposted by other accounts, which are among the 61 now blocked by the plarform. Reddit insists that numerous accounts had worked together to “upvote” the visibility of the documents through vote manipulation.
The guy who posted the unredacted US-UK trade document on Reddit also set-up a Twitter account to send the link to Labour’s press team AND several high-profile journalists. pic.twitter.com/QE0mZ0C3uT— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) November 27, 2019
The company also said the way the 451-page document was promoted resembled an alleged disinformation campaign exposed by Facebook called Secondary Infektion earlier this year. Facebook claimed that Russia-based operations were carried out across numerous platforms and different languages to spread false information in an attempt to favour Moscow’s policies.
“All of these accounts have the same shared pattern as the original Secondary Infektion group detected, causing us to believe that this was indeed tied to the original group”, Reddit earlier said.
Labour representatives, however, refused to discuss how the party obtained the leaked document or whether they were related to Russia. Jeremy Corbyn continued to refer to the dossier during the final televised debate with Boris Johnson on 6 December in a bid to criticise Johnson’s alleged plan to sell the NHS. The British PM dismissed all the speculation about the privatisation of health services while branding Corbyn’s claims as “pure Bermuda Triangle stuff”.
The news come as the UK government is preparing to release a report on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 referendum that was delayed until after the 12 December general election over claims it has to go through another round of security. The delay has been opposed by many UK politicians.
Russia has been repeatedly accused of meddling in European and American election processes via alleged hacking and social media campaigns, accusations that have been vehemently denied by Moscow. Facebook earlier stated that it found no substantial proof of Russia attempting to influence the outcome of the Brexit referendum through social media manipulation prior to the 2016 vote, which has also been echoed by Twitter announcing that it found “no evidence” proving Russia’s alleged meddling.