South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has been accused of using Twitter to sway public opinion ahead of last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, as part of an ambitious campaign to support Park Geun-hye, who won the presidency by a margin of one million votes last December. Accusations of foul play had been flying for months, but federal prosecutors last week unveiled new evidence detailing the scope of the operation.
According to the prosecutors, a team of NIS agents posted more than 1.2 million tweets that either praised Park and her policies, or smeared her rivals as North Korea sympathizers. The 1.2 million tweets unveiled last week were largely duplicates of 26,550 original tweets that were distributed through a computer program, pointing to what prosecutors describe as widespread meddling on the part of the NIS.
It’s not clear whether the campaign had any influence over the election results, though opposition leaders have accused Park and outgoing conservative President Lee Myung-bak of orchestrating the operation to tilt last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections in their favor.
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