At least 1,100 Russian-language accounts followed Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore’s Twitter account over the past few days. Moore’s team says they want to know why. “We had absolutely nothing to do with this,” said Drew Messer, a spokesman for the campaign, on Monday. “We’ve never purchased followers or dummy ads on Twitter. We’ve asked Twitter to look into this.” The increase helped push Moore’s following on Twitter from about 27,000 accounts on Friday to over 47,000, ahead of Democratic nominee Doug Jones, who has about 39,000 followers on Twitter. Many of the new followers for Moore appear to be bots, with only a handful of followers and generic profile art, including photos of singer Avril Lavigne.
A look at five of the accounts early Monday afternoon showed no postings promoting the former Alabama chief justice or his campaign.
Sebastian Kitchen, a spokesman for the Jones campaign, wrote Monday they found the reports of the Russian followers “bizarre” but had only learned of them. He said that Jones’ campaign acquired its followers naturally.
“I can confirm the Jones campaign has not purchased and would not purchase any social media followers,” Kitchen wrote in an email.