New Study: "Russian Trolls"
Did Not "Sow Discord" - They Influenced No One
Moon Of Alabama
November 28/29, 2019 "Information
- The U.S. has claimed that the Russia
government tried to influence the 2016 election
through Facebook and Twitter.
supposedly did this through people who worked
the Internet Research Agency (IRA) in
St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia. The IRA
people ran virtual persona on U.S. social
networks which pretended to have certain
political opinions. It also spent on advertising
supposedly to influence the election. U.S.
intelligence claimed that the purpose of the
alleged Russian influence campaign was to "sow
discord" within the United States.
IRA had nothing to do with the Russian
government. It had no interests in politics. And
a new study confirms that the idea that it was
"sowing discord" is blatant nonsense.
Mueller investigation indicted 13 Russian
persons and three Russian legal entities over
the alleged influence campaign. But, as we wrote
at that time, there was
more to it
than the media reported:
gives support to our
long held believe
that there was no "Russian influence"
campaign during the U.S. election. What is
described and denounced as such was instead
a commercial marketing scheme which ran
click-bait websites to generate
advertisement revenue and created online
crowds around virtual persona to promote
whatever its commercial customers wanted to
promote. The size of the operation was tiny
when compared to the hundreds of millions in
campaign expenditures. It had no influence
on the election outcome.
hired people in Leningrad for little money and
asked them to open accounts on U.S. social
media. The virtual persona they created and ran
were to attract as many persons to those
accounts as possible. They did that by posting
funny dog pictures or by taking strong political
positions. They were 'influencers' who sold
their customers' products to the people they
sole purpose was the same as in any commercial
media. Create content to attract 'eyeballs',
then sell those eyeballs to advertisers.
Point 95 of the Mueller indictment
Defendants and their co-conspirators also
used the [financial] accounts to
receive money from real U.S. persons in
exchange for posting promotions and
advertisements on the
ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages.
Defendants and their co-conspirators
typically charged certain U.S.
merchants and U.S. social media sites
between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for
promotional content on their popular false
U.S. persona accounts, including
Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and
was no Russian government campaign to influence
the 2016 election. There was only a Russian
commercial media enterprise that used
sock-puppet accounts with quirky content to
attract viewers and sold advertisement space to
also bought advertisement to attract more people
to its accounts. But the amount it spent was
tiny. The final price tag for the 2016 election
$6.5 billion for the presidential and
congressional elections combined. The IRA spend
a total of $100,000 to promote its own accounts.
But only some $45,000 of that was spend before
the election. It was 0.000007 cent for every
election dollar that was spend during that time.
It is statistically impossible that the mostly
apolitical IRA spending had any effect on the
the IRA ran a marketing machine and not a
political operation was also obvious when one
analyzed the content that those sock puppet
accounts posted. Most of it was apolitical.
Where it was political it covered both sides.
Some IRA accounts posted pro-Trump content,
others posted anti-Trump stuff. Some were
pro-Clinton others against her.
intelligence services tried to explain that away
by claiming that the Russians wanted to "sow
discord". There is zero evidence that this was
really the case. It is simply an explanation
that was made up because they failed to find a
real answer to the question why different IRA
accounts posted on different sides of the
political spectrum is that the IRA wanted to
maximize its income. One has to cover both sides
if one wants to optimize the number of eyeballs
News is not pro-Trump because it wants to sow
discord. Nor is CNN anti-Trump to serve that
purpose. Both are in the business of attracting
viewers to - in the end - sell advertisements.
People flock to the TV station that fit to the
opinion they already have. Both stations promote
by and large similar products.
virtual IRA persona worked in a similar ways.
They took political positions to attract people
who already had a similar one. One persona did
that for the left, another one for the right.
Neither changed the opinions of their followers.
recently published study which looked at Twitter
users who followed IRA sock puppet accounts and
their content confirms that. It found that the
IRA sock puppets had no influence on the
opinions of their followers.
study by U.S. and Danish researchers is
Assessing the Russian Internet Research Agency’s
impact on the political attitudes and behaviors
of American Twitter users in late 2017.
Bayesian regression tree models, we find
no evidence that interaction with
IRA accounts substantially impacted
distinctive measures of political attitudes
and behaviors over a 1-mo period. We also
find that interaction with IRA
accounts were most common among respondents
with strong ideological homophily within
their Twitter network, high
interest in politics, and high frequency of
Twitter usage. Together, these findings
suggest that Russian trolls might
have failed to sow discord because they
mostly interacted with those who were
already highly polarized.
hardcore Republicans watch FOX New, most
hardcore Democrats watch CNN. Neither TV station
changes the core opinions of their viewers. They
"Russian trolls" were virtual persona created to
cover -in total- a wide spectrum. Some persona
played hardcore Republican, other played
hardcore Democrats. They created and posted
content that fit to the role they played. Each
attracted followers with opinions similar to
those the virtual persona pretended to have. No
opinion was changed through those contacts. No
discord was sown.
then sold advertisement space to vendors to
monetize all eyeballs its virtual personas
U.S. intelligence agencies pretended that the
commercial IRA was a political agency. It helped
them to sell animosity against Russia and to
pretend that Trump was somehow colluding with
all never made any sense.
This article was originally published by "Moon
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