The Small Wars Journal has published an excellent overview of the notorious Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA). The report begins:
The United States is the target of countless threats from around the world. In the age of ecommerce, instant communication, and the expansion of the internet cyber threats have become some of the most terrifying adversaries. Enemies of the United States have all weaponized this ever-growing form of communication and information source and have been quick to understand that for every road closed more are presented. The internet allows these threats to combat the United States on a level playing field as they can create programs to hack into government websites, liquidate financial accounts, steal sensitive or classified information, or spread disinformation on either official or social media platforms. One group in particular has been highly successful in this new war being waged and they are known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA). This Russian based internet troll farm has been able to inflict damage on the United States in multiple ways using the spread of disinformation to affect political elections, infiltrate social media platforms, and to collect information on U.S. citizens.
Read the rest here.
In October the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR):
- Reported that the IRA was attempting to use social media accounts to boost the role of conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon.
- Reported that Facebook had removed a network of accounts tied to the IRA critical of Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris.
The Internet Research Agency (IRA) is a Russian company based in St. Peterburg which is engaged in online influence operations on behalf of Russian business and political interests. It is sometimes described as a “troll farm” and is linked to Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In February 2018, a United States grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities, including the Internet Research Agency and Prigozhin, on charges of violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes in support of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. The indictment said that the IRA sought to wage “information warfare” against the United States and to “sow discord” in the American political system by using fictitious American personas and social media platforms and other Internet-based media.