On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted thirteen Russian nationals for attempting to sabotage the 2016 US elections. The 37-page indictment alleges that Russians working for the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked troll farm, engaged in a multiyear campaign to spread misinformation and actively supported Donald Trump's bid for the White House. Operatives used fraud to pose as real Americans on social media, seized on politically divisive topics, and even tried to suppress minority turnout. The latest revelations also indicate that Facebook and Instagram were key platforms used in the Russian attack. The indictment lays out numerous details about the Kremlin's operation--so-called active measures deployed on social media that Mother Jones contributor Denise Clifton has been reporting on since last fall.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of Russian influence operations detailed the ways a "troll farm" operated on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment issued Friday charging Russian nationals and businesses with interfering in the 2016 presidential election does not use the ominous term "troll farm," but that's at the heart of investigation. While you may know that troll farms in some way involve the manipulation of social media to some possible dastardly end, you may not know how they actually work. The name comes from the term "troll," which is someone who joins a social media discussion on Facebook or Twitter, for example, and posts provocative comments, perhaps inflammatory or even off the topic, to sow discord. A "troll farm" is an organized operation of many users who may work together in a "factory" or from different places across a distributed network to generate online traffic aimed at affecting public opinion, and to spread misinformation and disinformation.
Twitter is the latest social media platform to meet with lawmakers about Russia's influence in the 2016 election. FILE- This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app on a mobile phone in Philadelphia. Social media giant Twitter will visit Capitol Hill Sept. 28, as part of the House and Senate investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Photo: Matt Rourke, AP) SAN FRANCISCO -- Twitter says it found some 200 accounts linked to the same Russian groups that bought $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook to sow political unrest and manipulate U.S. voters during the presidential election. The Twitter accounts, which were taken down over the last month, were linked to 470 accounts and pages that Facebook traced to the International Research Agency, a Russian troll farm. According to a blog post released by Twitter Thursday after briefing staffers on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, the groups on Facebook had 22 Twitter accounts.