, 9 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Kremlin media outlets Sputnik and RT recently got de-invited to the International Conference on Media Freedom and some folks ain't happy. #WednesdayWisdom

cc: @ZellaQuixote
We downloaded tweets from the last 10 days containing "media", "freedom", and "RT" or "Sputnik" and filtered out a couple of early false positives. 9.4% of tweets are automated (average for most datasets of this sort is roughly 3%).
The first on-topic tweet about RT/Sputnik being barred from the conference came from @BotsPutin, which probably isn't a bot although many of the other early accounts to tweet about the subject are in fact automated (mostly newsbots linking custom collections of news sites.)
By and large, the automated accounts tweeting about RT/Sputnik being banned look like solo acts rather than botnets. The one exception is a group of three accounts linking to /r/worldnews on Reddit. The official account (@redditworldnews) turns up as well.
A couple frequent fliers show up too: #IndyRef retweet bot @IsThisAB0t and spammy RWNJ newsbot @McGMaryland1, the replacement for the permanently suspended @McGMaryland.

(previous threads mentioning @IsThisAB0t/@McGMaryland)

Retweet network for "RT"/"Sputnik" + "media" + "freedom". The accounts defending RT and Sputnik and expressing displeasure at their nonpresence at the International Conference on Media Freedom (most prominently @RussianEmbassy) network more tightly than those that don't.
Two prominent variants on whataboutism turn up in the tweets defending RT and Sputnik:

- "what about Assange? The UK won't give him media freedom!" (reflected in word cloud)
- "what about the BBC? They're state media too and we think they suck!"
Both groups of accounts link RT and Sputnik, but those outraged at the Kremlin outlets' ban do so far more frequently; over half their links are to Russian news sources, with much of the remainder being Western conspiracy sites.
Footnote: as evidenced by the responsiveness of @IsThisAB0t and @StillYesScot, #IndyRef has some pretty ducking reliable retweet bots. #MAGA, #Bernie2020, #ImWithHer, #NotMyPresident, #Resist, #NoMiddleGround, and #Tacocat retweet bots just can't keep up.
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