Senate Report: Russian Social-Media-Interference Operations 'Active And Ongoing'
By RFE/RL December 17, 2018
The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign sought particularly to deepen divisions in society and suppress turnout among Democratic voters, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The report released on December 17 was compiled by the U.S.-based cybersecurity firm New Knowledge with data provided by the Senate panel from major tech companies Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
The document says a disinformation campaign spearheaded by the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg company that has been described by the U.S. intelligence community as a "troll farm" with ties to the Russian government, was aimed at stoking divisions between voters on controversial issues such as immigration, race, and gun control, and helping President Donald Trump win the 2016 election.
Taken together with another report, also released on December 17 and also written for the Senate Intelligence Committee, it helped provide the first comprehensive public analysis of Russian efforts to sway U.S. opinion using social media during the U.S. election.
Such efforts continue to this day, according to the report titled The Tactics & Tropes Of The Internet Research Agency, which says, "Active and ongoing interference operations remain on several platforms."
One continuing Russian campaign seeks to influence opinion on Syria by promoting Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally in Syria's civil war in Syria, according to the authors of the report.
With reporting by The New York Times, AP, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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