As early as 2014, Russian operatives working out of the Internet Research Agency (IRC) in St. Petersburg were busy creating fake Twitter accounts for U.S. local news organizations that did not exist.
Their goal was to exploit the trust Americans place in local news.
Russia exploited that trust for years by sharing real news through those bogus accounts, before using the same accounts to spread 'fake news,' or more accurately, disinformation intended to damage American interests.
From a report out today by Tim Mak at NPR:
NPR has reviewed information connected with the investigation and found 48 such accounts. They have names such as @ElPasoTopNews, @MilwaukeeVoice, @CamdenCityNews and @Seattle_Post.
(...) Another example: The Internet Research Agency created an account that looks like it is the Chicago Daily News. That newspaper shuttered in 1978.
The Internet Research Agency-linked account was created in May 2014, and for years, it just posted local headlines, accumulating some 19,000 followers by July 2016.
Another twist: These accounts apparently never spread misinformation. In fact, they posted real local news, serving as sleeper accounts building trust and readership for some future, unforeseen effort.
Also this week, Twitter announced plans to kill a large number of bot/fake accounts, in an effort to make the platform less vulnerable to the *ongoing* disinformation campaign, as Americans prepare to vote in the 2018 midterm elections this November.
'Russian Influence Campaign Sought To Exploit Americans' Trust In Local News' [NPR]
Twitter, JPMorgan, and other organizations have announced they will stop using racially-charged coding and hardware terms like master, slave, blacklist, whitelist, and others as part of a thorough review of best practices around value-neutral terminology in programming and technology.
“Pence was scheduled to go to Phoenix on Tuesday but went on Wednesday instead so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit.”
America First was a protectionist movement in the early 20th century whose name ultimately became the slogan of those opposed to fighting the Nazis. Revived by the Trump campaign in 2016, its antisemitic associations galvanized supporters while alarming wavering Republicans; his use of the phrase was a key moment in the forming of the “Never […]
As the summer surges forward, grilling and evenings in the backyard may be the only serious outdoor excursions many of us take this season. Yet even with all of our current problems, there’s one group who doesn’t care a bit about COVID-19 and will still look to make any trip you make outside into an […]
With all due respect to our vegetarian friends, there might be nothing more intrinsically linked to the 4th of July holiday than a big ole cookout. Sure, fireworks and celebrating the birth of a constitutional republic are great too, but showing off your cooking prowess with a brilliantly seared, mouth-watering slab of grade-A American beef […]
We’re at the midway point of 2020. So…how’s the year going for you so far? Yeah…we can guess. But while there’s a lot about 2020 we can’t directly control, maybe a little retail therapy can help make you feel better. Sure, the 39 items we gathered together can absolutely bring a smile to your face. […]