Notice: unserialize(): Error at offset 15110 of 16351 bytes in /home/hqz56v4orayg/public_html/libraries/src/Cache/CacheController.php on line 182
India-Based Twitter Accounts Fanned UK Unrest, Researchers

LONDON - A network of fake accounts originating outside of the UK stoked violence between Muslims and Hindus in a British city earlier this year, according to research first provided to Bloomberg News.

An estimated 500 inauthentic accounts that called for violence and promoted memes, as well as incendiary videos, were created on Twitter Inc. during riots in Leicester between late August and early September this year, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute at Rutgers University.

Social media was rife with videos claiming to show mosques being set alight and claims of kidnapping, forcing police to issue warnings that people should not believe misinformation online.

Many of the Twitter accounts that amplified the unrest originated in India, researchers said. Anti-Muslim sentiment has been rising in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leading to a narrative that Hindus outside the country, some of whom are not Indian, subscribe to Hindutva, a kind of Hindu nationalism.

An initial video purporting to show Hindutva Hindus attacking Muslim men sparked uncorroborated claims that local, politically motivated activists amplified, researchers said.

The video sparked the interest of a foreign influence network, the involvement of which contributed to real-world violence, according to the findings.