U.S. Cyber Command DDOS'd Russian troll factory's internet on 2018 midterms voting day: WaPo

The official cyberwarfare division of America's military successfully blocked off Internet access for the Russian government's notorious “troll factory” on the day of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Read the rest

How Russian investigative journalists working for precarious free press outlets exposed the "troll factory"

St Petersburg's Internet Research Agency -- AKA "The Troll Factory" -- is in the news since Robert Mueller indicted 13 of its employees, but it first came to public attention in 2013, when investigative reporters working for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta revealed that the agency was working to manipulate Russian public opinion in favor of Putin and the Kremlin and against opposition politicians by flooding Russian online discussions with thousands of "patriotic" posts made under a welter of pseudonyms. Read the rest

Russia bought Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook to "sow political chaos in the United States"

A Russian government-affiliated troll farm called Internet Research Agency bought a Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeting Ferguson and Baltimore, reports CNN, with "the apparent goal of the Russian buyers to amplify political discord and fuel an atmosphere of incivility and chaos."

Facebook refuses to release the ad publicly, citing issues of privacy, even though ad ran publicly in late 2015 or early 2016.

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Facebook did not comment for this story but did point to a statement from Facebook's chief security officer, Alex Stamos, who said earlier this month that "the vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically reference the U.S. presidential election, voting or a particular candidate." "Rather," Stamos said, "the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum -- touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights."

Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said this week that the aim of the ad-buyers "was to sow chaos."

"In many cases, it was more about voter suppression rather than increasing turnout," he told reporters. The Senate Intelligence Committee will also hear from Twitter on Thursday about how foreign nationals may have used its ad service to influence the 2016 election. Twitter has declined to shed any light so far on what information it plans to give to Congress.

Related: Russian-generated Facebook posts pushed Trump as "only viable option." Read the rest