How Russian "troll factory" influenced public life in the U.S.

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

Russian trolls tried to split the American society and ignite the riots on the basis of disagreements, stress the representatives of the U.S. Democratic Party
22:37, 14 May 2018

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Representatives of the Democratic Party House of Representatives Intelligence Committee published the original report, part of which was about 3.5 thousand of paid posts on Facebook and Instagram from fake accounts.

These posts, as stressed in the Democratic Party, are examples of the work of the Russian trolls factory - the so-called "Agency for Internet Research."

According to a member of the Democratic Party House of Representatives Adam Schiff, publication of the posts was made for the sake of "the Americans who can understand how Russia has used social media to interfere in the elections in 2016 and to divide us."

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"They did this by creating fake accounts, pages, and communities to promote online content, video and mobilize real Americans to unintentionally sign online petitions and participate in rallies and protests. Russia sought to divide us in our race, our country, our religion and our political party ... They sought to use the real disappointment of Americans and anger over sensitive political issues in order to influence American thinking, voting and behavior, " he added.

What specifically was published?

About 3,500 paid (advertising) posts on Facebook and Instagram of the authorship of the Russian Agency for Internet Research.

The posts cover a number of issues, including racial injustice, arms control, LGBT rights, immigration and patriotism.

The post dates cover the period between 2015 and 2017.

But, as the report estimated the share of the Russian "troll factory" in social networks:

    A total of 3,519 advertising posts were published.
    These posts were seen by more than 11.4 million Americans.
    "Troll Factory" has created 470 pages in social networks.
    Through these pages, 80,000 pieces of content were published.

How does it look like?

Frequent examples: reports of police brutality against black people, including the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a teenager from Ferguson Michael Brown, etc. At the same time, the reference went to Facebook's Black Matters page.

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Another group of posts, for example, promotes a pair of black videobloggers "Williams and Calvin," who condemn the racism and brutality of the police in their reports. They, according to media reports, in a number of videos opposed Clinton and supported Trump.

Another calls for action against right-wing rallies, such as in Texas, organized by the group "Back to Blue".

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An interesting example: the situation around the famous American singer Beyoncé and the protests caused by her performance on one of the "Super Bowl" (then the singer showed a very radical performance about the struggle of the black people for their rights, which caused a very polar reaction).

According to the published material, a number of posts of "trolls" simultaneously promoted both actions in support of Beyoncé, and protests against Beyoncé, planned at the same time.

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At the same time, the first campaign was targeted in social networks for users with "African-American behavior," and the second for people who work in police or studied in police academies.

In general, the main feature of such publications, as stressed in the AP, is the focus on certain groups of people.

So, some posts on Facebook were supposed to be seen by critics of US migration policy, who are subscribers, for example, of the leading Fox News.

Other posts were to be viewed by Facebook users who are 19 km from Buffalo and were about to attend an action dedicated to the death of an African-American woman in prison.

But the posts criticizing the school teacher-racist from Texas, who lost his job because of his views, were directed to residents of certain states - Cleveland, Baltimore, Missouri, etc.

CNN reminded of the work of the "troll factory" against Hillary Clinton and the rest, except for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

In particular, here is an example of one of the ads, dated the summer of 2016:

"Donald Trump is afraid that the general elections of 2016 will be falsified against him. There is no doubt that he has reasons to think so. "

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There was also a page called Clinton FRAUDATION, which described itself as "Everything you wanted to know about the dark side of Clinton."

Facebook reaction

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Facebook has published a list of changes to prevent the use of disinformation to undermine the democratic process.

In particular, it is: checking the identity of politicians or advertisers, eliminating some demographic targeting options, and proactively monitoring the activity around dozens of elections around the world.

"On the threshold of the elections in 2016, we focused on the types of cyber security that are usually used by national states, for example, phishing and malicious programs," said in a statement posted on the Facebook blog.

"And we were too slow to reveal this type of interference in information operations," the company emphasized.

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