Senate Intelligence Committee report details extensive Russian interference in US elections

Senate Intelligence Committee report details extensive Russian interference in US elections

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Flag of of Soviet Russia until 1991 displayed during an anti-Hillary Clinton and pro-Bernie Sanders rally during the Democratic National Convention at City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 26, 2016, (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)
The flag of of Soviet Russia until 1991 is displayed during an anti-Hillary Clinton and pro-Bernie Sanders rally during the Democratic National Convention at City Hall in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016, (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)

ON THE HILL AFTERNOON EDITION WITH DOUG CHRISTIAN

CAPITOL HILL – The Senate Intelligence Committee commissioned a report by the U.K.-based Computational Propaganda Project, a network analysis firm, titled The IRA and Political Polarization in the United States, 2012-2018, asserts that “Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) launched an extended attack on the United States by using computational propaganda to misinform and polarize US voters,” even after Donald Trump was elected President.

It says that “what is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump.”

It goes on to say that:

“Between 2013 and 2018, the IRA’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter campaigns reached tens of millions of users in the United States.”

“Over 30 million users, between 2015 and 2017, shared the IRA’s Facebook and Instagram posts with their friends and family, liking, reacting to, and commenting on them along the way.”

The report also says: “IRA activities focused on the US began on Twitter in 2013 but quickly evolved into a multi-platform strategy involving Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube among other platforms.”

And it adds that: “The most far reaching IRA activity is in organic posting, not advertisements.”

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, focusing on Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices, (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, focusing on “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices,” (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian/TMN)

The report asserts that Google’s platforms, including Google+ and YouTube, were used extensively in Russia’s disinformation efforts.

It says that Google cooperated little in the report and “chose not to disclose any account data on [YouTube] ads,” so that preparers could not directly analyze the results of the IRA’s efforts. Instead, Google only “provided images of ads, videos that were uploaded to YouTube, and non-machine-readable PDFs of tabulated data on advertisements but provided no context or documentation about this content.”

Doug Christian, Capitol Hill

 

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