Explaining How Black Women Are Being Attacked Online: Alt-right Russian Trolls

Op-Ed: This is how Black identity is being weaponized online to push political agendas

Phys.Org, December 2018

Russian troll farm aimed to discourage black US voters: study

... "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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