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Facebook has just removed more accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic activity, including Instagram and FB accounts linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The accounts "had the hallmarks of a well-resourced operation." 1/

According to FB, the accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA) posted content on both sides of hot-button topics like "US elections, environmental issues, racial tensions, LGBTQ issues, political candidates, confederate ideas, conservatism and liberalism." 2/
The accounts took steps to conceal their identity and location, but many of them pretended to be from swing states and seemed to be targeting their content at swing state voters. 3/
One way the Internet Research Agency seems to be evading new rules enacted by social media platforms is by repurposing/reposting memes and other content, rather than creating their own content like they did in the 2016 operation. 4/
It’s alarming to see the Internet Research Agency making use of Instagram for a few reasons. For one thing, IG has even less transparency than FB, and it’s harder to identify/track networks of accounts. 5/
Instagram is also (obviously) a visual-based platform, and image-based social media posts tend to get more engagement and spread further than text-based posts. It also encourages cross-platform posting, so unwitting users are more likely to pick it up and share it elsewhere. 6/
I’ll come back with more on this, but there are a few important takeaways here.

First, Russia has not stopped; they’ve switched tactics to adapt to a changing environment, but they’ve been engaged in an ongoing, evolving info-op since pre-2016. Now they’re prepping for 2020. 6/
Secondly, it’s getting harder to distinguish between domestic & foreign operations. In many instances, Russia is seizing on existing content and repurposing/reposting it. It blurs the line between foreign & domestic, and raises questions about where we should draw that line. 7/
If Russia-based IRA accounts are boosting content that was first posted by Americans, it’s still foreign influence, but it’s more insidious and will be harder to root out. It’s an operation based on Russians targeting Americans — with American content. 8/
This also creates a situation where Russia could covertly encourage American content creators to produce more divisive content for use in info ops. For content creators looking at engagement metrics, it doesn’t matter where the engagement is coming from. The more, the better. 9/
We are likely to see multiple foreign actors targeting both the primary and general elections — at a time when we also have a POTUS who uses information warfare against the American people, and who has actively thwarted efforts to prepare & respond to foreign influence ops. 10/
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