Russia-backed group planting racist cartoons on social media to interfere in elections: report
Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin 99Photo via AFP)

On Friday, Axios reported that a Russia-linked group is planting racist political cartoons on social media in an effort to interfere against Democrats in Senate elections.

"A suspected Russian disinformation campaign is targeting far-right U.S. audiences to undermine support for Democratic candidates ahead of Tuesday's elections, researchers at social media analysis firm Graphika have found," reported Sam Sabin. "Graphika found Russia-linked actors are targeting the close Senate and gubernatorial races in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York and Ohio by disseminating a series of racist and inflammatory political cartoons."

One of the cartoons showed Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), the pastor of Dr. Martin Luther King's church, wearing a bandanna, African shawl, and brandishing a handgun, saying, "Y'all white crackas hear my sermon! Y'all better repent for yo worship of whiteness or I'll bust yo asses." Another showed Congressman Tim Ryan, who is running for Senate in Ohio, inside a prison, pressing a button to "release all fentanyl distributors and drug traffickers."

"The report, released Thursday, associates the ongoing campaign with the Newsroom for American and European Based Citizens, a fake right-wing news outlet that targeted the U.S. 2020 presidential elections and is believed to be tied to Russia's Internet Research Agency," said the report. "Since Oct. 29, the group has published new political cartoons and fake articles undermining the Democratic Party on social media network Gab and far-right discussion forum patriots.win."

Gab has become a notorious haven for anti-Semitic content. The man who opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, killing 11 people, signaled his intentions on the platform shortly beforehand.

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"Graphika said the most recent set of political cartoons has "received very low engagement and no organic spread to other platforms," said the report. "The suspected Russia-linked disinformation campaign follows reports of increased pro-China disinformation targeting the U.S. elections as well. Last week, researchers at Google-owned Mandiant said they had uncovered a pro-China disinformation campaign targeting U.S. voters across social media to dissuade voters from casting their ballots."