The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to study
The research — by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika, a network analysis firm — offers new details of how Russians working at the Internet Research Agency, which U.S. officials have charged with
“What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump,” the report says.
The report offers the latest evidence that Russian agents sought to help Trump win the White House. Democrats & Republicans on the panel previously studied the U.S. intelligence community’s 2017 finding that Moscow aimed to assist Trump
The Russians aimed particular energy at activating conservatives
The report also offered some of the first detailed analyses of the role played by YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, and Instagram, owned by Facebook,
Facebook, for example, provided the Senate with copies of posts from 81 Facebook pages & information on 76 accounts used to purchase ads, but it did not share posts from other user accounts run by the IRA, the report says.
Google submitted information in an especially difficult way for the researchers to handle, providing content such as
Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In a statement, Twitter stressed it had made “significant strides” since the 2016 election to harden its digital defenses, including the release of a
Facebook, Google & Twitter first disclosed last year that they had identified Russian interference on their sites. Critics previously said that it took too long to come to an understanding of the disinformation campaign, and that Russian strategies have likely
Researchers also noted that the data includes evidence of sloppiness by the Russians that could have led to earlier detection, including the use of Russia’s currency, the ruble, to buy ads and Russian phone numbers for contact information.
Many of the findings track, in general terms, work by other researchers & testimony previously provided by the companies to lawmakers
The report traces the origins of Russian online influence operations to Russian domestic politics in 2009 and says that ambitions
The efforts to manipulate Americans grew sharply in 2014 and every year after
Facebook was particularly effective at targeting conservatives and African Americans, the report found. More than 99 percent of all engagement — meaning likes, shares and other reactions — came from 20 Facebook pages controlled by the IRA,
Together, the 20 most popular pages generated 39 million likes, 31 million shares, 5.4 million reactions and 3.4 million comments. Company officials told Congress that the Russian campaign reached
The Russians operated 133 accounts on Instagram, a photo-sharing subsidiary of Facebook, that focused mainly on race, ethnicity or other forms of personal identity.
While the overall intensity of posting across platforms grew year by year — with a particular spike during the 6 months after Election Day 2016 — this
The Russians shrewdly worked across platforms as they refined their tactics aimed
“Black Matters US” had accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr and PayPal, according to the researchers.
The researchers found that when Facebook shut down the page in August 2016
The report found operatives also began buying Google ads to promote the “BlackMatters US” website with provocative messages