A 37-page indictment issued by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team alleges Russian interference in the 2016 election was supposedly conducted by 13 Russian spies through the Internet Research Agency LLC, a state-sponsored troll factory in St. Petersburg – “Putin’s election hackers.” Mueller’s indictment looks as though it were written by the same writer of the Steele Dossier who utilized a fifth-grade writing style and to produce the document.
Did Mueller forget that most of the information in Mueller’s indictment had already been published last October in an article by a Russian business magazine, RBC?
In the article entitled “How the ‘troll factory’ worked the U.S. elections,” journalists Polina Rusyaeva and Andrey Zakharov offered a complete picture of how the “American department” of the Internet Research Agency LLC used Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to inflame tensions ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The two authors clearly described the staffing structure and revealed details about its budget and salaries.
Andrey Zakharov gave a recent interview where he made the following remarks about the Mueller indictments:
“Of all the people who are mentioned there, only some people were the real top managers of the troll factory. The other staff mentioned are very incidental. I mean, it seems like they put down all the names they could get. Some were people who worked there in 2014, but most of these guys didn’t work for the troll factory for a long time. They didn’t even work there during the elections. Like Krylova, she didn’t work there then.” [Aleksandra Krylova is one of the two employees who allegedly traveled to the United States in 2014.]
“It looks like they just took some employees from the American department whose names they could get.”
“Russian media has been covering the troll factory since 2013, long before the big investigation in the New York Times Magazine — and by the way, most of the things in that were just taken from my colleagues
What we saw was that they were trying to spread tension in the society, talking about problems people had with black people, Islam and so on. They organized anti-Trump rallies also. Yes, they were active against Hillary Clinton, but they were not always pro-Trump. They were also active after the election. The story about the Black Fist movement — fake movement self-defense classes for black people — they started this story in 2017, after Trump was elected.”
“They are proud of their work. For them it was really fun: 90 people sitting in St. Petersburg, organizing groups with thousands and thousands of likes. It was a very successful social media marketing campaign.”
“A lot of Russian conservatives were proud. They said: “Look at what Russians can do! Only 90 people with $2 million made America scared! We are strong!” And for conservative people here, they see that Americans have CNN, Radio Free Europe, etc., that cover Russia. They say, “Why can’t we establish groups in America and have our own influence?” That’s how conservative people think here. They think this was normal.”
Zuckerberg’s a Russian
Facebook vice president of advertising Rob Goldman has recently slammed the media for what he said was misleading coverage of Russia’s meddling in American politics. Somehow, $100,000.00 in inconsequential ads from 470 “Russian” accounts placed on Facebook was the whole “Russian Election Meddling.”
The ads listed in Mueller’s indictments are harmless and ineffectual. They had nothing to do with swaying anyone during the election. A small group of trolls alleging to be from Russia are trolling the Internet to create chaos and discord. The Russian are coming, the Russians are coming! The collective efforts of these ads were sophomoric, poorly designed, and seemingly quite random. As Rob Goldman says:
“Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal. The majority of the Russian “ad spend” happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main stream media narrative of Trump and the election.”
Analysts are still trying to figure out the reach and impact of the Kremlin’s ad buy effort. But even with the right user data, $100,000 buys little influence on Facebook.