talkingpointsmemo.com - 10 days ago
Russian Trolls Promoted Trump While Trashing Black Lives Matter On Twitter
When a Russian troll farm was fishing for Trump supporters on Twitter, it baited the hook by targeting minority activists and public figures.
TPM has reviewed tweets and images from a pro-Trump Twitter account run by the Russian troll farm that likely purchased $100,000 worth of political ads on Facebook. Among the account’s favorite targets during the 2016 campaign season were Michelle Obama, undocumented immigrants and antiracist activist movement Black Lives Matter. The since-suspended account, @tpartynews, had about 22,000 followers and was run out of a St. Petersburg company called the Federal News Agency (FAN), according to the authors of a report on the agency that ran in March in a major Russian business magazine, RBC. Twitter did not respond by press time to multiple requests for comment; Talking Points Memo will update this piece if they return those requests. In a blog post about the Russians’ political ad spend on Facebook, the company’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, observed that the ads and accounts identified as being linked to the $100,000 buy “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.” Twitter appears to have been a target of the same campaign, and the tenor of the @tpartynews account seems to fit with Stamos’s description. The account promoted Donald Trump’s campaign events generically—”Massive line for #TrumpWA in #Everett!”
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