A pair of reports enacted by the U.S. Senate revealed that Russia’s meddling of the 2016 election was far more extensive than expected. The reports uncovered that Russians behind the disruption efforts targeted Black voters and preferred President Donald Trump to win over his Democratic Party opponent, Hillary Clinton.
NBC News reports:
Researchers combed through millions of posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube created by the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg-based firm run by a close ally of Vladimir Putin whose key executives have been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller on charges of defrauding the United States.
Two separate reports on the operation were prepared for senators, both of which were obtained by NBC News. Both sets of researchers found, as Mueller did, that the Internet Research Agency set out in the 2016 presidential election to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, in part by inflaming right-wing conspiracy theories and seeking to engender distrust among — and suppress the vote of — left-leaning groups, including African-Americans.
The Russians set up 30 Facebook pages targeting the black community, the researchers found, and 10 YouTube channels that posted 571 videos related to police violence against African-Americans. YouTube, which is part of Alphabet, the holding company for Google, was not correct when it said in a statement last year that Russian content did not target a segment of U.S. society, the researchers concluded.
One of the reports provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee was developed by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity company based in Texas, and conducted alongside researchers from Columbia University and Canfield Research LLC.
As first reported by The Washington Post, Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika, a network analysis firm, conducted the second of the pair of reports.