Russian Twitterbots and their propaganda campaign for Trump

Internet Research Agency. Home of Russian Twitterbots
Internet Research Agency. Home of Russian Twitterbots

Some of you who aren’t knowingly compromised and corrupted by Russia influences still might think, Gosh did Russia really interfere in our elections in 2016? Symantec answers that with a resounding Yes, After analyzing the data released by Twitter of what the Internet Research Agency posted during the 2016 campaign, Symantec concluded Russian Twitterbots interfered massively. The IRA essentially was an arm of the Russian government. It had hundreds of employees working to destabilize the election and tilt public opinion towards Trump. Several of its top people (who were also military) were indicted by Mueller.

IRA interference was well-planned, methodical, often playing both sides of the political fence to create chaos, but always with a deliberate intent of helping Trump. And anyone who claims the Trump campaign didn’t know about IRA and didn’t amplify what Russian bots and trolls were doing probably also howls that Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald are fearless fighters for freedom – and certainly not in any way influenced by Russia, even if Wikileaks servers are in Russia and Greenwald appears on totally unbiased RT and Fox News. Oh, that.

I’ve folllowed all this on Twitter since before the 2016 election. Early on it became obvious that some accounts were not what they appeared to be. They had fake news names, and pushed out content to auxiliary accounts who retweeted it, and then it was cheerfully retweeted by actual Trump supporters, none of whom of course had a clue they they were being conned. Heaven forfend they should retweet content they knew was bogus!

One of the most egregious accounts was TEN_GOP, who pretended to be Tennessee Republicans. They got retweeted 6 million times. Earluy on Never Trump Twitter called bullshit on this account, saying it was controlled by Russia. There as of course laughter that Never Trumpers would say such crazy things.

Except, TEN_GOP was a IRA bot. The data Symantec analyzed proves it.

Perhaps the most overt aspect of the propaganda campaign was the IRA’s organization of a number of political rallies in the U.S. Despite the fact that the accounts comprised of fake personas and organizations, they nevertheless succeeded in mobilizing people to attend events. Besides its online activities, the campaign’s operators also organized rallies supporting positions on both sides of the political spectrum.