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Bombshell New York Times report exposes Russia’s operations to harm Democrats by targeting black Americans

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bombshell New York Times report reveals the Russian troll operation on social media platforms was far more extensive than first understood. One major aspect of a report prepared for the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee finds Russia “extensively” and “specifically” targeted Black Americans.

Russia’s Internet Research Agency (I.R.A.), owned by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, used not only Facebook and Twitter, but also YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, Google+, and especially Instagram.

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“The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of posts on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its Facebook operations, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee,” the Times reports.

Two reports have been prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

One of the reports, by a company called New Knowledge, reveals the “most prolific I.R.A. 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.”

In that same report, “researchers discovered many examples of the Russian operators building an audience with one theme and then shifting to another, often more provocative, set of messages. For instance, an Instagram account called @army_of_jesus_ first posted in January 2015 images from The Muppet Show, then shifted to The Simpsons and by early 2016 became Jesus-focused. Multiple memes associated Jesus with Mr. Trump’s campaign and Satan with Mrs. Clinton’s.”

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Russian trolls worked both to support Donald Trump and to attack Hillary Clinton.

“While the right-wing pages promoted Mr. Trump’s candidacy, the left-wing pages scorned Mrs. Clinton while promoting Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate,” the Times states. “The voter suppression effort was focused particularly on Sanders supporters and African-Americans, urging them to shun Mrs. Clinton in the general election and either vote for Ms. Stein or stay home.”

Whether such efforts had a significant effect is difficult to judge. Black voter turnout declined in 2016 for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, but it is impossible to determine whether that was the result of the Russian campaign.

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The paper describes it as “the Russian effort to sway American opinion and divide the country, which the authors said continues to this day.”

Read the entire Times report here.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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Trump’s resolve on background checks ‘substantially softened’ after call from NRA’s Wayne LaPierre: NYT

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President Donald Trump has reversed his promises to fight for gun control, The New York Times reported Monday.

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