Russia has been sending its tentacles into all aspects of our social media. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is looking at legislation that will regulate political ads just as the government regulates the networks. Twitter may be bringing a mountain of trouble upon itself for a different reason.
Twitter knew that one of its accounts was fake. Tennessee’s GOP warned the social media organization repeatedly that @TEN_GOP was a fake account and did not represent the Tennessee Republican Party. The popular account opened up for business in November 2015 and drew 136,000 followers with its negative messages. Yet, Twitter did nothing for 11 months.
As it turned out, @TEN_GOP was a Russian troll account. Twitter finally shut it down in August of 2017, placing the account in permanent suspension.
This twitter account made a point of spewing out fake news. The Russians worked hard to create outrageous lies. BuzzFeed News reported that one December 2016 tweet created a story about police officers killing unarmed black men. Then, the tweet said that the black men deserved it. Another tweet falsely claimed that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA championship parade was actually just a crowd awaiting Donald Trump’s speech.
The real Tennessee Republican Party’s communication director, Candice Dawkins, told Buzzfeed News:
‘It was in no way affiliated with our office. It was very misleading.’
Jack Posobiec is a pro-Trump online activist with over 213,000 Twitter followers. In July, Twitter temporarily suspended his account. The political director of a political action committee told BuzzFeed News:
‘Fascinating. We have to learn more about their operations. It’s been their tactic since the KGB in the ’70s to turn Americans against one another.’
Posobiec was strongly against any investigation into the Russian election interference. In a video, he talked about a CNN poll stating 58 percent of the nation’s adults disagreed with the idea that Russia changed voter totals. BuzzFeed News reported that he said:
‘The left and the mainstream media have repeated the same refrain: that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump not because any fault of her own, but that Russia meddled with the US election somehow.’
Russia’s Internet Research Agency, which is linked to a Kremlin troll farm, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and dedicated 100 people to influence American opinion. @TEN_GOP was only one of many accounts it created. An investigation by Russia’s RBC news organization uncovered this activity.
Check out this video about Russia’s internet activity via YouTube:
Featured Image via Kapersky Lab’s Twitter Page.