The Slatest

Russia’s Pro-Trump Disinformation Campaign Used Every Major Social Media Platform

President Donald Trump waves after greeting guests during the Congressional Ball at the White House on December 15, 2018.
President Donald Trump waves after greeting guests during the Congressional Ball at the White House on December 15, 2018.
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/Getty Images

The Washington Post got its hands on a study compiled for the Senate Intelligence Committee that describes in lots of detail just how extensive Russia’s efforts were to help get President Donald Trump elected. According to the report, which has not been endorsed by the Senate yet, the pro-Trump operation used every major social media platform to a much broader extent than previously believed. It makes clear that the disinformation campaign went beyond Facebook and also targeted users on YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, and even Pinterest.

The report, which was carried out by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and network analysis firm Graphika, shows how the Russian effort divided Americans into interest groups to more easily send them messages that were targeted to them and their interests. The efforts though particularly targeted right-wing or at least right-leaning Americans and were also clearly tied to key political events, such as debates.

“What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump,” notes the report that will be released along with another study later this week. “Trump is mentioned most in campaigns targeting conservatives and right-wing voters, where the messaging encouraged these groups to support his campaign. The main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting.”

The report also criticizes the technology companies for the “belated and uncoordinated response” to the disinformation campaign and then for not being as transparent as possible with researchers trying to study the issue.