It has generally been accepted that Russia has made some meddling into the U.S. 2016 elections by using social media. Yet new reports expand on just how prevalent it was.
Separate reports from the social media analysts at New Knowledge and the Oxford University team partnered with Graphika, show how Russia tried to interfere with social platforms.
The firms provide tangible examples, like how a Russian troll farm attempted to foster “secessionist movements” in California and Texas.
Republican chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr released a statement saying that, “This newly released data demonstrates how aggressively Russia sought to divide Americans by race, religion and ideology.”
Another example presented by Oxford/Graphika noted how Russians spread “sensationalist, conspiratorialist, and other forms of junk political news and misinformation to voters across the political spectrum.”
The reports show that African-Americans were encouraged to boycott the election or to purposefully vote incorrectly. Additionally, conservatives were pressured to be more confrontational and Mexican-Americans were urged to mistrust U.S. institutions.
These findings easily support previous reports like one from 2017 indicating that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered cyber attacks on prominent Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton, with the intention to boost support for Trump.
While Moscow has denied all allegations of interference with the elections, the possibilities are being investigated by Special Counsel Mueller.