Journalists declassified factory of Russian ‘Internet trolls’

Source : CNN

Factory operated in Ghana and Nigeria
11:11, 14 March 2020

Open source

A CNN investigation has found a Russian troll operation targeting American voters. A campaign to interfere in the 2020 US election has been, at least in part, outsourced — to trolls in the west African nations of Ghana and Nigeria. CNN went to Accra, Ghana, to confront the people on the ground behind it. This is a never-before seen look at how Russia is once again trying to influence America's democracy.

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In 2016, much of the trolling aimed at the US election operated from an office block in St. Petersburg, Russia. A months-long CNN investigation has discovered that, in this election cycle, at least part of the campaign has been outsourced -- to trolls in the west African nations of Ghana and Nigeria.

They have focused almost exclusively on racial issues in the US, promoting black empowerment and often displaying anger towards white Americans. The goal, according to experts who follow Russian disinformation campaigns, is to inflame divisions among Americans and provoke social unrest.

Facebook and Twitter had already been looking into some of the troll accounts when CNN notified the two companies of our investigation. In a statement Thursday, Facebook said that its "subsequent assessment benefited from our collaboration with a team of journalists at CNN" and it had "removed 49 Facebook accounts, 69 Pages and 85 Instagram accounts for engaging in foreign interference."

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Facebook said: "This network was in early stages of audience building and was operated by local nationals -- witting and unwitting -- in Ghana and Nigeria on behalf of individuals in Russia. It targeted primarily the United States."

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