Post Report Shows Russians Used Twitter Campaign To Misinform Md Voters In 2016

A report by the “Washington Post” shows a Russian twitter campaign to affect black voters in Maryland during the 2016 Presidential election.

According to their findings, the mission began in June of 2015. It started with a company called Internet Research Agency (IRA) which is based out of a St. Petersburg based. They set up an account called @baltimoreonline. They started first with just sending out tweets about things happening locally. The third tweet from the IRA account was a retweet of a story of a 5-year-old who had shot himself. Not too far from where Freddie Gray was arrested and later died while in police custody.

The “Post” report says American prosecutors say the IRA trolling source used stories like this to spread misinformation to widen the racial divisions and to demoralize African American voters. It was also discovered that the Russian campaign focused on Maryland unlike any other campaign being conducted in other states.

IRA also purchased ads on Facebook that specifically targeted blacks in the state of Maryland. More than in any other state. There were some 285 adds — 193 that focuses on residents in Baltimore according to accounts by Propaganda Research Project and Graphika. These are just two of three major originations that look into social media for Congress.

The Facebook account posted stories about Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice and even Michael Brown further exploiting the racial injustice in the country. In fact, they continued to tweet until well after the Presidential election. It was shut down in August of 2017 after is was made clear to the social media giant of their campaign to play up the country’s racial injustice issues with police and lawmakers.

Experts believe Russians sources are working right now to figure out to put out misinformation to discourage black voters for the 2020 Presidential race.

The Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP is well aware of the organization and they are planning a number of things to make sure that black voters are not discouraged or misinformed and that they vote in the coming election. The chapter has scheduled a Setempber 24th push tied in with National Voter Registration Day.

Since numbers findings and investigations have shown Russian involvement in discouraging or suppression the black vote both Twitter and Facebook have made commitments to block any user seen using those tactics to intimidate or send out wrong information about voting.

Facebook has assigned 500 employees to monitor accounts the closer we get to the 2020 election.

Congressman Elijah Cummings is warning residents in Maryland to prepare for more misinformation to circulate ahead of the next Presidential election to discourage black voters from using the right they have to cast a ballot.

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