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‘Easy mark’ Americans fell for Russian troll tweets nine times more often than any other country: analysis

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Americans were easily suckered by Russian propaganda in the 2016 election, allowing themselves to be duped by trolls much more frequently than Europeans, reports the Daily Beast in a new piece that analyzes how the output of Kremlin troll farms was received.

The Russian propaganda was “nine times more effective than its disinformation in Russian,” the report says, because Russians are smarter about identifying it.

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The analysis follows Twitter releasing details of over nine million tweets associated with 3,841 different accounts that Twitter’s investigators linked to the Russia’s intelligence agency. That dataset includes 5,708,020 original tweets and 3,333,168 retweeted by the Russians.

Former NSA official Ryan Fox said the Russians have long been trying trying to do stuff like this in their own sphere of influence but that the United States was “a far better environment for it to succeed.”

“Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia, they know Russia’s coming after them,” Fox told the Beast. “They’ve been culturally trained to recognize Russia as a threat, so the skepticism of people in that region is pretty high.”

In every language it operates other than English, the Russians got an average of 1.73 retweets, likes or replies, the Beast found. Meanwhile, tweets aimed at Americans and some Brits got an average of 15.25 engagements over the same period.

It wasn’t just fake news that was a concern, either, The Beast found. “Weaponized truth,” which includes an element of truth but which fits into a highly partisan narrative, was the most effective tool.

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“The conversation after the election was more about fake news, and not the content that was a form of weaponized truth, that picked at narratives that people want to believe and that have an element of truth to them,” said Fox.


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DOJ closes insider trading investigations against three senators — but is still investigating Richard Burr: report

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On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Justice Department officials are closing insider trading investigations into three senators — Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK).

However, a fourth probe, into insider trading allegations against Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), is reportedly ongoing.

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation began the investigations two months ago, as reports emerged that several members of Congress, their spouses or their investment advisers sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock after lawmakers attended closed-door briefings about the threat posed by the new coronavirus," reported Aruna Viswanatha. "Some of those trades spared lawmakers as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses as stocks sank by mid-March."

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White House insider says Trump spent Memorial Day weekend ‘in a rage’ – and sees himself as COVID-19’s biggest victim

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An inside source speaking to Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman says President Trump spent his Memorial Day weekend "in a f*cking rage" over what he sees is his unfair treatment over his response to the coronavirus outbreak. Even as the death toll neared 100,000 and unemployment swelled to over 38 million, Trump still sees himself as the victim, Sherman writes.

"Trump’s outburst reflected his growing frustration that, at this stage of the race, he is losing to Joe Biden," writes Sherman. "According to a Republican briefed on the campaign’s internal polls, Trump is trailing Biden by double digits among women over 50 in six swing states. 'Trump knows the numbers are bad. It’s why he’s thrashing about,' the Republican said."

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Amy Cooper fired from investment firm after accusing Black man of ‘threatening’ her life in viral video

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Amy Cooper has been fired from her job at Franklin Templeton Investments after she was caught on video calling the police on a Black man who had confronted her for not having her dog on a leash in Central Park.

“Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the investment firm tweeted on Tuesday.

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