Soon after a train derailed and spilled toxic chemicals in Ohio last month, anonymous pro-Russian accounts started spreading misleading claims…and anti-American propaganda about it…on Twitter, using Elon Musk’s new verification system to expand their reach while creating the illusion of credibility. The accounts, which parroted Kremlin talking points on several topics…claimed without evidence, that the authorities in Ohio were lying about the true impact of the chemical spill. The accounts spread fearmongering posts that preyed on legitimate concerns about pollution and health effects…and compared the response to the derailment with America’s support for Ukraine following its invasion by Russia. Some of the claims pushed by the pro-Russian accounts were verifiably false, such as the suggestion that the news media had covered up the disaster or that environmental scientists traveling to the site had been killed in a plane crash. But most were more speculative, seemingly designed to stoke fear or distrust.
A convicted murderer who escaped last week from a northwest Ohio prison with another inmate …