Russian troll farm aimed to discourage black US voters: study

The Russian troll farm that disrupted the 2016 US presidential election sought particularly to demoralize Africa-Americans and discourage them from voting, according to a comprehensive new report for the Senate.

The primary goal of the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) was to deepen divisions in US society and convince Democrat-favoring liberals—including Latinos, youths and the LGBTQ community—not to vote, the report said.

But the most extensive analysis yet of thousands of IRA ads and posts across in 2015-2017 showed a special emphasis on provoking the anger of black Americans so that they would stay home on election day.

The IRA-created account "Blacktivist" sent out messages on the Democratic candidate such as: "No lives matter to Hillary Clinton. Only votes matter to Hillary Clinton."

Another IRA account, "Black Matters", posted on Facebook: "Cops kill black kids. Are you sure that your son won't be the next?"

"It is evident that the campaigns sought to demobilize African Americans, LGBT, and liberal voters," said the report by the Computational Propaganda Project at Oxford University and social media specialists Graphika.

"These campaigns pushed a message that the best way to advance the cause of the African American community was to boycott the election and focus on other issues instead."

Separately, a portion of the 3,841 IRA accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube studied by the researchers sought to provoke Republican-leaning white Americans to get out and vote.

While the study did not draw any lines between the IRA propaganda and the election results—Republican Donald Trump stunned Clinton to take the White House—post-election data suggests some impact.

According to the Pew Research Center, white voter turnout surged in 2016 while black turnout sank by five percentage points, to 59.6 percent, from four years earlier.

The IRA was set up by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a domestic social media propaganda operation.

The study showed the IRA US campaign began in 2015, aiming to mobilize conservative voters, with no specific backing for Trump at the time.

But as the then-candidate gained support, and especially when he drove his anti-immigrant message, the IRA posts turned in his favor.

The IRA had "coherent teams," formed around specific ideologies such as gun rights and LGBTQ issues, that directed posts using user profile data provided by advertising arms of the social media companies.


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© 2018 AFP

Citation: Russian troll farm aimed to discourage black US voters: study (2018, December 17) retrieved 21 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-russian-troll-farm-aimed-discourage.html
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Dec 17, 2018
No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion,

Shhhhh don't tell anyone about the NRA ties to the Russian mob run government - https://www.npr.o...revealed

Or the fact that the NRA spent $36 million - supporting Trump - at a time when they were in financial trouble - https://www.nbcne...-n665056
https://www.opens...ht-year/

The plot thickens, and the noose tightens. No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion,

Dec 17, 2018
@greenos "collusion" is not a crime. Conspiracy is. And that's a Good Thing. "Collusion" is thoughtcrime. Conspiracy is a felony.

Dec 17, 2018
What about the physorg troll farm? Theyre pretty discouraging too-

Speaking of trolls
No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion, No collusion
Only libtard trolls would think russians would need any encouragement to cause trouble. BUt there WAS collusion wasnt there?

"The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump's connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said."

"Steele's dossier, for which Fusion reportedly received $1 million, was largely based on interviews with Russian officials. And who paid that $1 million? As we and others have reported, it was Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, then under Hillary's control."

Dec 17, 2018
@greenos "collusion" is not a crime. Conspiracy is. And that's a Good Thing. "Collusion" is thoughtcrime. Conspiracy is a felony
-which is why hillary et al are going to jail. For deceiving the FISA court with the fake dossier, and for selling US uranium to russia.

"A whistleblower for the Department of Justice had his home raided after privately delivering documents concerning the Clinton Foundation's ties to the Uranium One deal."

-But not without a fight. An extremely dirty one, as usual.

Dec 17, 2018
BUt there WAS collusion wasnt there?
I think so - and conspiracy. We have to wait and see what Mueller is sitting on. All very hush hush at the moment.

Dec 17, 2018
And at the end of all this....

It's Mueller time. :D

Dec 17, 2018
Oh, and BTW, since the article is on a specific Russian troll farm, why are we talking about Clinton?

So, @Blotto the Bigot, deflect much?

Just askin'.

Dec 18, 2018
You're talking about collusion/conspiracy. Hillary et al are accusing trump of it. Trump never committed collusion/conspiracy. His accusers did and their accusations via the Mueller investigation are meant to deflect investigation of them.

But theirs is ongoing and their time is at hand.

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