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WASHINGTON — Russian agents who favored Donald Trump's presidential candidacy harnessed the major players of America's tech industry in a sophisticated propaganda effort that was far more extensive than originally understood, according to a detailed analysis prepared for the Senate intelligence committee.
The Russian efforts included an attempt to suppress the votes of African-Americans.
Researchers - Millions - Posts - Facebook - Instagram
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 Russian President 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 Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, 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.
Russians - Facebook - Pages - Americans - Researchers
The Russians set up 30 Facebook pages targeting black Americans, 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.
Alex Stamos, the former head of security at Facebook and now an NBC News analyst, said, "[The African-American targeting] is a really important reminder that upsets the conventional wisdom from a lot of people that social media was mainly used to manipulate people on the right... but it was also on the left."
Russians - Hotlines - Encourage - People
The Russians also set up hotlines that encourage people to discuss sexual or other...
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