Russia Targeted African Americans in its Plot to Undermine Democracy & Help Trump Steal the 2016 Election.

“Two explosive reports detail how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to support Donald Trump: They Were Released To The Public on Monday.  Watch Malcolm Nance’s Appearance on @11thHour with Brian Williams, as he breaks down both reports in detail.”

~ L. Renee’

We’ve all known for quite some time that Russia has interfered in our election system, and more so in the 2016 Presidential election, when they specifically targeted African-Americans on all of the social media platforms and tried tirelessly to suppress and block Democratic voters, specifically, African American voters, according to two major reports released by the United States Senate

The Senate commissioned each report to outline and provide the public a better understanding of the depth of Russia’s interference in the Presidential election of 2016.  The public, for the first time, will get to see one of the reports, that was conducted by a private research firm, and will be released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, just 15 days before Democrats are set to take over the House.

“Active and ongoing interference operations remain on several platforms,” says the report, produced by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity company based in Austin, Texas, along with researchers at Columbia University and Canfield Research LLC. It also indicates that the reach was much wider spread than originally thought.

The report, gives credibility to what Special Counsel Mueller, The FBI, The Intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committees have been saying all along – That the majority of the social media posts being used, specifically focused on race, and designed to harm the Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton, and put Trump in office.  The ultimate goal however; was not just the Presidency, but to wreak havoc on American democracy and divide this country in a way that would be almost impossible to repair after Trump was gone.

So here’s what the study revealed.  There were 10 million tweets, over 100,000 Instagram posts and over 60,000 Facebook posts, and about 1,00 videos posted, which were analyzed by the report researchers.  They found that the posts originated from The IRA – The Internet Research Agency, which is Russian government- linked.  Remember folks, these are the same internet trolls who were indicted by Mueller earlier this year.   You can read the Department of Justice Indictment, in case you forgot, or want to refresh your memory for context.

What’s most alarming of all the social media posts analyzed is the common theme, they specifically targeted African Americans to lead the dissent.

According to the report,

“The most prolific IRA efforts on Facebook and Instagram specifically targeted black American communities and appear to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets, while other distinct ethnic and religious groups were the focus of one or two Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts, the black community was targeted extensively, with dozens”.

Damn!  That’s pretty sick even for Putin.   What this says is that these designated accounts ran by Russians, under direct orders, made every possible attempt to reach out to and convince Americans to become patsy’s or “assets”, by using overt tactics, for example.  They would offer certain clothing or merchandise with slogans on them, targeting The Black Lives Matter movement and religion.  Some of them would spread false narratives of voter fraud in the Democratic party, while the majority of them focused on discouraging minorities from voting.

If you think about this. The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012.  The 7-percentage-point decline from the previous presidential election is the largest on record for us. (It’s also the largest percentage-point decline among any racial or ethnic group since white voter turnout dropped from 70.2% in 1992 to 60.7% in 1996.)

So I’d say, it worked. So does the report. New Knowledge with data provided by the Senate committee from tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google parent company Alphabet

It should be noted that Google declined to comment and a Twitter spokesperson claimed the company has “made significant strides to counter manipulation of our service.

A trolling taxonomy

Tweets sent by Russian trolls associated with the Internet Research Agency, as categorized by Clemson researchers

Non-English 837,725
Right Troll 719,087
News Feed 599,294
Left Troll 427,811
Hashtag Gamer 241,827
Commercial 122,582
Unknown 13,905
Fearmonger 11,140

“Russia’s attempts to distract, divide, and demoralize has been called a form of political war,” the report authors have concluded. “This analysis has given insight into the methods the IRA used to engage in this war.”

The second report, which was completed by researchers at the University of Oxford, and called, The “Computational Progaganda Research Project”, gives us a pretty exhaustive view of Russian interference on these platforms, despite what they have said in front of Congress and to the public.  Why? Come on.  We all see the tens of thousands of live bot/troll accounts out there, that can’t wait to pounce and stir up trouble.  Not only that, there have been reports that these accounts are specifically tied to the IRA (Internet Research Agency), again, check the indictment above, so Jack and Twitter and Zuckerberg and Facebook/Instagram are well aware of who these accounts are, what they are doing, yet they remain.  My question is WHY? What’s the point if we already have proof from Mueller, why are there ANY of these accounts left?

“With at least some of the Russian government’s goals achieved in the face of little diplomatic or other push-back, it appears likely that the United States will continue to face Russian interference for the foreseeable future,”

~Report Researchers Statement

I need to point out, that NONE Of the tech giants, not ONE of them turned over complete data reports to Congress, and it appears that some of them have even embellished or eluded questions during their testimony about that interference level, by overplaying their confidence and technology, and downplaying the significance of how far the problem gotten away from them.
It is also worth noting that much of the focus of the Russian activity centered around Instagram, the sister company of Facebook, which was often minimalized in testimony on Capital Hill.  The researchers show that there was high concentration and attention on Facebook and Twitter throughout 2017, when all of a sudden they switched to Instagram.  The report reveals over 180 million different engagements and connections with Instagram users, and at least 70+ million on Facebook alone.
“Instagram was a significant front in the IRA’s influence operation, something that Facebook executives appear to have avoided mentioning in congressional testimony,” the researchers wrote. They added “our assessment is that Instagram is likely to be a key battleground”.
Of course, Facebook denied this, by saying they had “not seen” the report and did not want to comment on anything specifically until they had time to review it.  Yeah…Ok.
Mark Warner, the committee’s senior Democrat, said new laws were needed to deal with a critical situation around social media. “These attacks against our country were much more comprehensive, calculating and widespread than previously revealed,” said Warner.
The new reports said that while it was well known that Russian trolls engulfed social media with right-wing pro-Trump propaganda, their insinuated efforts to push black voters to boycott the election or vote for a third-party candidate were underplayed and undermentioned. Even to this day, watch how many MSM’s run with this side of the story vs. overall Russian interference.
In addition to the online posts telling black people their votes would not matter or urging them to vote third-party, Russian operatives tricked people with “vote by text message” scams and tweets designed to create confusion about voting rules, according to New Knowledge.

New Knowledge said the social media propaganda campaign should be seen as the third front in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, together with the hack and theft of Democratic party emails that were passed to WikiLeaks, and the attempt to hack online voting systems across the US.

The Oxford researchers said the lack of human editors on platforms such as Facebook was enabling propagandists. “Obviously, democracies need to take computational propaganda seriously as a threat to their public life,” they said.

Just WOW!  So what will you do to help speak out and get involved? Will you report an account that appears to be dividing us, or will you simply indulge in their nonsense and call them names?  Will you continue to speak out and call upon these tech giants like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to do the right thing and step up security and verification measures of accounts?  Maybe check IP addresses and locations?

I encourage each of you to get more involved  and be more active in our democracy and defending each other.  We can’t do this just from Twitter and Facebook, but we have to do it in our every day lives, how we teach our children and how we lead by example.  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Renee’ s Column, “Dem Words: Wednesday Words of Wisdom”, that breaks down everyday issues from the perspective of the black community.

Her hope is that through her words, she can get more people in her community and across America to become consistently involved in our democracy and become educated and re-informed about how politics does, in fact, affect our every day lives.

Everyone of every race, religion, gender, and creed are encouraged to read this blog each Wednesday and increase your self-awareness as an African American, but also for those of you are avid supporters and believers of all equality to support our movement, and become educated and informed of our struggles as well. 

This is for everyone. So we never have to worry about history repeating itself…again! Let’s say enough is enough and let’s stay engaged, and keep those around us engaged as well!

It’s up to us.  Those of us on Twitter, ARE the leaders, the ones who are not on social media are the ones we need to reach.  This alternative perspective allows you to speak to multiple groups of people and help save our democracy. The midterms are just one step, we have 2020 to get through, and beyond!  If you want to have your voice heard, be sure to reach out to DemWritePress, and click on Write For Us! 

#IRA #2016ElectionInterference #RussianTrolls  #African Americans #Facebook #Twitter

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