How Russian trolls weaponized your social media feed

How Russian trolls weaponized your social media feed


Russian hackers attempted to influence the
US presidential election. A meddling campaign carried out by the Russians,
authorized at the highest levels. Russian interference in the 2016 presidential
election is now pretty well-documented. From hacking voter registration rolls… Russia is behind a cyber attack on a contractor
for Florida’s election system… To leaking stolen DNC emails… The Russians were responsible for hacking
the DNC. But perhaps their most ingenious tool is this: it’s a video of a guy watching news coverage of ISIS taking credit for an explosion at
a chemical plant in Louisiana. If you’re having trouble remembering this
horrifying chemical plant explosion, well that’s because it never happened. Oh man, this is f***ed up. So if this totally legit American accent didn’t
already tip you off, this video is a fake. It’s the handiwork (and I’m using that term
loosely here), of a shadowy Russian organization with ties to the Kremlin called the Internet
Research Agency. The agency does a lot more than video. Fake Russian accounts posing as Americans
have released a barrage of social media posts. The topics of these posts vary, but the goal
is always the same: to spread fear and drive Americans opinions to the extremes. Russia wants to destabilize Western democracies. The Russian effort stands out just in terms
of the financing behind it and the level of organization that we saw in this campaign. Thanks to a recent federal inditement, we
now know more than ever about how exactly Russia has been shaping the opinions of the
American public. Russians employed by people with ties to the
Kremlin are asked to create convincing social media accounts that can pass as real Americans. Every so often, they’re instructed to incorporate
a Kremlin-approved message into their posts. Then, other professional internet trolls at
the agency, sometimes with the aid of bots, comment on and share that original post. If the trolls are successful, the messages
promoted in these fake posts will leave the circle of fake accounts and be shared by actual
Americans. These operations employ VPNs, that’s Virtual
Private Networks, that can mask their computer’s IP address to create the appearance that their
posts originate in the US. And they even make sure to post during US
daytime hours to make their posts appear more plausible. There’s ample proof that this scheme occurred
during the election and even as recently as the Parkland shooting in Florida. It’s not that the Russian government cares
specifically about American gun rights or ISIS activity in the US. The point is to create division and fear. They figure, anything that destabilizes Europe
or the United States redounds to their benefit, so they understand that our society is very
divided now. There are divisions based on race, economic
interest as well as political persuasion. It’s actually very easy to pit groups against
one another. The Russian government originally deployed
internet trolls within Russia. In 2011, the country was roiled by protests
in response to the election that year, which was criticized for being fraudulent. The government reacted by cracking down on
the internet, but also employed internet trolls to counter the protestors by spreading pro-Kremlin
propaganda. While Russian trolls were proven to have spread
misinformation during the 2016 election, the actual effect they had on the election is
very difficult, if not impossible, to prove. But the idea of a foreign government trying
to drive a wedge between the American public is extremely worrying. Twitter has removed nearly 4,000 accounts
found to be operated by Russian trolls. And Facebook has promised changes to its algorithm
for how it serves up content in your newsfeed, to help combat the problem. But these social media companies don’t acknowledge
the divisiveness that’s homegrown. It’s easy to suspend inauthentic and foreign
social media accounts, but what about when real Americans are posting about virtually
the same thing? Too many Americans are getting all their information
from one source, whether it’s a liberal, moderate, or conservative site. That’s dangerous just in and of itself, but
especially dangerous during an era of false or misleading information. The most important thing the average news
consumer can do is to rely on a diversity of sources of information. So if you’re looking for content that shows
off the lighter side of social media, our sister site Eater has this amazing series
about what it takes to make food go viral. In general, if you’re looking for really cool
food content, Eater has you covered so go check them out.

Author:

100 thoughts on “How Russian trolls weaponized your social media feed”

  • The Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency, helped spread Russian propaganda during the 2016 election. Here's what we know about the organization: http://bit.ly/2qSo9wN

  • This is Fake News. There is no evidence whatsoever that Russia spent "billions". There is evidence Russia may have spent $16.25 Million. Where is the evidence for the other 99.98% of the "Billions"? Are LIES to be persuasive? http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-troll-farm-spent-millions-on-election-interference-2018-2

  • Anonymous Unknown says:

    As I was growing up I've heard countless Americans stupidly claim democracy is the best form of government. Just wait for it, this is only one of the many weaknesses of democracy

  • im a Russian troll, I mostly convince people that taking the drug dmt will allow them to communicate with actual metaphysical entities, like mechanical elves ,[they don't exist we made them up] but im not really Russian, im actually Japaneseainu,tatarbashkirbelarussianUdmurtkominenetirishscottish but people think im white because im blonde, and blue eyed but im actually asian

  • HillDoggy Dogg says:

    How Vox trolls weaponized fake news against a nuclear and military superpower because they wanted to oust a politician who didn't conform to their Neo-Bolshevik Trotskyist genocidal ideology.

  • Dmitriy Zhukov says:

    America and Britain are the axis of world evil. And Russia has encroached on the propaganda lies of these countries.

  • Wheres the evidence? Wheres the proof? Come on man the left is so blind and ignorant to the truth. There are no facts to back any of this. Vox is a joke. DONALD TRUMP 2020

  • просто слухаю says:

    i just want to share this personally

    no.. to me… i get more Americans kept harrassing me in reallife and internet because i'm "russian" but guess what? i'm Ukranian

    "russian danger and etc" is a real thing, but doesn't makes an americans to be a "saint" they are nothing but a dumb mass of people in general, i got fed up over this kind of thing, now its my time to spit off!

    my advice for americans in general/majority – just don't worship the media so much, learn how to think with your own head sometimes, i'll give you a reallife thumbs up for that

  • Gustav Ohlson says:

    Or maybe it´s just people who have a different opinion than what western media daily spews out about warmongering and fearmongering….

  • can we just assume that everyone is a russian troll because they clearly could just be using a vpn!! (obvious satire)

  • You are retarded fools at Vox – Russia did nothing out the ordinary this last election cycle. This whole thing is a smoke screen for the selling out of America and all that's good in the world by evil, stupid commies that run the Democrat Party and its minions like those at Vox. F-OFF TRASH!

  • Lol . You understand that the Russians are doing this in order to pin on the Americans and no government is required here. Russians just do it out of "sports interest".

  • /Yevgeny V Prigozhin's troll factory.(Prigozhin(restaurant owner) is Putin's favored caterer).Prigozhin's troll company is at 55 Savushkina Street in St Petersburg,its called the Internet Research Agency.

  • Thank you paid Russian trolls from St Petersburg troll factory. You're doing important work and you can be proud of yourselves and your careers.

  • Not Todd Howard says:

    "Too many Americans are getting their information from one source" "They're exploiting divisions in our society"
    Sounds less like a problem with Russia and more like an inherent flaw in democracy. Say Russia vanishes tomorrow, someone else can just come along and do this. Hell the US manipulated 80 elections since the 60s.

  • Mark Lanzarotta says:

    Putin is preying on the stupidity of the millions of stupid Republicans by propagandizing them with these KGB-trained scarecrows.

  • Rusty Shacklefordussliberty says:

    You dumb ducking liars know you have no ecidenxe to back this up your fake non existent troll farms based in the Ukraine didn't post half of those accounts faked info by Twitter which btw doesnt exist and hasn't been released Ricky Vaughn btw is not Russian nor me not the millions of americans and 4chan polacks etc that destroyed your lying assets get bent

  • Take Patrick Lancaster, a Russian accented male who speaks Russian with a strong english accent . So which is true, he is a Russian pretending to be an American or an American who will most probably will never leave Russian territory for another country. This is one traitor who should have an international warrant for his arrest.

  • Every Government In THE WOrld Is DOing THis. You should know this by now. They employ social media influencers to spoonfeed yall. Makes sense to me how else would you know what to buy or think.

  • the problem of this video and others is that they show how russians worked against hillary or the left..makes it seemed biased. that makes trump supporters reject this whole russian bot/troll thing. they have to explain better that a lot of times , even the people who make comments that agree with your politics..that those are bots/troll too. they want to strengthen and weaken your views at the same time. united states to divided .

  • Being good Russian troll easy. Just delete article and mess with tense and singularity, and voila, you now Russian troll. Oh… and say bad stuff about Adam Shift, Ted Loo and Antifa too, to divide people. Hillary-bots much more grammar

  • You guys know why they wanted to influence your election right? To support republican trump because of his NATO bashing they wanted trump to scrap NATO that's all now he's not doing that there pissed off and RT hates him 😂

  • The suggestion is simple then: never get caught up in the bubble of validation. Just because others agree/disagree doesn't have to change the root of your reasoning, ever. What makes it wrong or right is the reality, not the perception of it especially when you get overwhelmed. Stick to your principles and apply them always in a practical way

  • I think the Russians are controlling CNN, Vox CBS MSNBC. Look at all the anti American bs they constantly say about our duly elected President Trump. The Russians wanted Clinton to win thank God Trump won.

  • But what about how conservative views are censored on social media? Cons cheated? Anyone seen or heard of project veritas? Wtf people.

  • Lefty Troll Bots weaponized all social media.. to control your every thought.. don't listen to vox.. they are the enemy of the people.

  • We called this Russia derangement syndrome or RDS. Only the most brainwashed liberals suffer from this debilitating disease.

  • Sure, there are Russian trolls rigging elections. Lmfao. Well, please actually provide evidence for it. We all know that the USA government lies often such as claiming that Iraq has WMDs when it didn't. It would not be surprising if the FBI or CIA concocted this notion of Russian troll factories (which sounds stupid by the way) to scapegoat Russia to justify war or provocation with Moscow. I have yet to see evidence that Russia is paying people to "troll" online. So, for now I'm putting this claim in the conspiracy theory category. People need to stop believing everything they hear and instead ask "but what's the evidence for this?"

  • Our American made media platforms Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc etc should ban all Russian, Chinese, Indian users permanently from our media platforms.

  • Find a Russian troll today and break his fingers with a 10kg hammer like Joe Pesci in “ casino”. He won’t use a computer keyboard again.

  • Minute Repeater says:

    In your turn your chilling as well, you always got to love this selective outrage/double standard. The western governments with their Industrial overlords cant be trusted, but the same goes for the Chinese, Russians and who ever, but Im sure your getting paid well to spread your devisive filth. The powers that be today are no different than the powers that were 2000 years ago.

  • В жопе полной живут и вместо того чтобы сидеть коментить моглиб у себя что то поменять. Дибилы бля

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