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RECOMMENDED READING:“ The Internet Research Agency: Spreading Disinformation”

November 11th, 2020 14:09

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.