Alt-right 'March on Google' protest bolstered by Russian influence networks on Twitter

Jack Posobiec has reportedly attempted to enlist ex-Google employee James Damore.

March on Google is a little-known protest movement organised for 19 August Getty Images

An anti-Google protest movement launched by a known conspiracy theorist and alt-right internet activist is reportedly being bolstered on Twitter by "Russian influence networks".

The claim is based on statistics taken from a dashboard managed by the US Alliance for Securing Democracy, a collective which collates data from 600 Twitter accounts known to be involved in misinformation campaigns linked to the Kremlin – also known as 'Hamilton 68.'

The protest movement, dubbed March on Google, was announced by pro-Trump activist Jack Posobiec and a "coaltion (sic) of free speech activists around the United States", according to its website.

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The campaign will protest Google's stance on free speech in front of its American offices on 19 August.

Posobiec claimed to have reached out to former Google employee James Damore, the man at the centre of controversy after being fired for penning an anti-diversity memo which said that women were less suited to some Silicon Valley tech roles than men.

The protesters claimed that Google is "abusing its power to silence dissent and manipulate election results", and Posobiec appears to believe that Damore would agree. As reported by The Guardian, the software engineer did open up to 'right-wing YouTubers' after his dismissal.

On 10 August, the 600 profiles tracked by the dashboard suggested that viewership of the March on Google website spiked by 1500% in the space of two days, and was listed under: 'Top Domains'. It was also in the top 'Trending Hashtags', rising by nearly 2000% in the same period.

The statistics fluctuate daily, and are likely change again within the next 48 hours.

"Influence operations aim to raise the profile of certain themes and issues, but they don't always create the content they amplify," the dashboard's admins said in a statement. "This is likely the case with the Google story, which has been trending among far-right users.

March on Google was propped up by 1500%, according to Hamilton68Alliance for Securing Democracy

"Russia frequently amplifies content related to the far-right in both the US and in Europe, but it does so opportunistically.

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"It's easier to amplify something people are already talking about than to create a trend out of thin air." The dashboard has not named the 600 Twitter profiles it monitors.

The US Alliance for Securing Democracy is billed on its website as a 'transatlantic initiative' being housed at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).

It has pledged to "expose Vladimir Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe".

Russian influence operations hit the mainstream after a series of cyberattacks conducted during the 2016 US presidential election, allegedly set up with the intention of helping Donald Trump enter the White House. US Intelligence has previously indicated that Putin was likely involved.

Recently, the Twitter profiles were caught spamming the #ResignPaulRyan hashtag, resulting in a surge of activity. There are critics of the approach taken by the dashboard, with many arguing that it lacks transparency and may simply be showcasing content from the so-called alt-right or bots.

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