A Twitter handle alleged to be a prime example of a ‘Russian troll’ account was actually run from Glasgow by a Scottish security guard. Asked about his tweets, the Scotsman said he is “just anti-crony capitalism.”
On Monday, crowdfunded journalism outlet Byline published an article detailing a “complicated” analysis of Twitter page @didgery77332nd, also known as ‘Smoo,’ concluding it’s a “fair assessment” that Smoo is a “foreign-based troll pushing Russian messaging.”
The supposed ‘Russian troll’ takedown comes amid recent unfounded claims that Russian bots sought to influence the Brexit referendum. However, the alleged foreign troll ‘Smoo’ has been tracked down and is actually a security guard from Glasgow, according to The Scotsman newspaper.
The man denied his page was anonymous, telling the Scottish newspaper that Smoo is a pet name from his childhood. “Smoo has been my nickname since I was six years old. It’s not difficult to track me down. People might not agree with my opinions, but that doesn’t make me a Russian troll,” he said.
The Byline ‘investigation’ into the social media page was carried out by writer JJ Patrick, who said he undertook the project after the owner of the account responded to his Twitter post about Russian Brexit trolls. Patrick’s analysis details why he suspects Smoo to be a fake Scottish account peddling “Russian or Russian-inspired disinformation”.
His reasoning includes that the account spread conspiracist memes and made “horrific use of English.” The Byline article zeroes in on the Smoo account’s language patterns in a failed attempt to debunk it.
“Their use of the word ‘Way’ to replace ‘With’ is not Scottish. In fact, having confirmed this by consulting a broad spectrum of Twitter users from across Scotland, ‘Way’ would almost certainly not be used. Rather, ‘With’ would be substituted with ‘Wae’ or even ‘Wi’.”
The person behind ‘Smoo’ has since tweeted to say his views “are not pro-Russia just anti-crony capitalism & corrupt governments.”
RT.com has reached out to both ‘Smoo’ and JJ Patrick for comment.