For quite some time, US officials have known that Russian operatives had been using social media to try and influence, not only the dialogue in America, but the 2016 US presidential election. Up until this point, we didn’t have any clear indication as to which accounts were directly tied to these campaigns of influence, but new details coming to us this morning from CNN has changed all of that.
Multiple sources have told CNN that fake black activist accounts had been posting on both Twitter and Facebook in an effort to divide America and create chaos. The two accounts, which have been confirmed, both went by the username “Blacktivists”. The Facebook account had a staggering 360,000 likes, which happened to be more than the official Black Lives Matters account, while the Twitter account, @Blacktivists, also had thousands of followers and oftentimes cross posted the same messages as the Facebook account had.
While both the Twitter and Facebook accounts have since been removed, the sources, which confirmed their connections to CNN, have stated that links were found connecting them to the Kremlin. These accounts appear to have been used to sow discourse in America. They had promoted several events, including a rally to celebrate Freddie Gray’s death, and a party celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers.
There were multiple clues that these accounts likely were not run by Americans. These clues included the fact that a backwards apostrophe was often used (which is used mainly in the Russian language) as well as the use of multiple awkward phrasing within the English language.
In addition to trying to sow discource in America, the @Blacktivist Twitter account also promoted the candidacy of the Green Party’s Jill Stein, tweeting, “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”
According to sources, there are hundreds of other Twitter accounts linked to the Kremlin as well, and many of them had also made posts which were anti-Hillary Clinton. As the investigations in the House, the Senate and by Robert Mueller move forward, there is no doubt that the American people will begin to get a much clearer picture as to just how comprehensive these campaigns of influence were by Russia via social media.
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