Twitter and WikiLeaks Greatly Helped Trump

New research finds Hillary Clinton faced far more criticism on social media than her opponent during the campaign's last two weeks.
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New research finds Hillary Clinton faced far more criticism on social media than her opponent during the campaign's last two weeks.
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It's now clear that the Russian government worked hard to elect Donald Trump, primarily through two channels: targeted anti-Hillary Clinton social-media campaigns, and the release of potentially damaging leaks about the Democratic candidate.

This leaves two important questions: Was the Trump campaign actively involved in this campaign? And did it really make a difference?

The investigation into the first is moving along rapidly. As to the second, the answer appears to be yes.

A  new study from the University of Edinburgh reports that, on Twitter, Clinton received far more criticism than Trump during the final two months of the 2016 campaign.

"There were three times as many posts attacking Clinton than posts in her favor."

"Our findings reveal a wide disparity between traditional media, which was very critical of Donald Trump, and social media, where Hillary Clinton was much worse off," writes lead author Walid Magdy.

In their study, which will be presented at a conference at Oxford University in September, Magdy and his colleagues analyzed the 50 most retweeted political posts each day between September 1st and November 8th. That came to nearly 3,500 posts, which were retweeted more than 25 million times.

"There were three times as many posts attacking Clinton than posts in her favor," the university stated in announcing the study. "By contrast, viral tweets relating to Trump were split equally in favor and against his campaign."

The statement adds that "posts related to WikiLeaks were the most common form of attack on social media for the Democratic candidate."

The findings do not directly implicate Russia. But if, as investigators suspect, a good portion of those anti-Clinton posts had Russian roots, it would seem that Vladimir Putin's investment paid off.

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