Russia's Election Interference Is Digital Marketing 101

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Media Outlet: The Atlantic

Dipayan Ghosh and Ben Scott wrote for The Atlantic about Russia's disinformation campaigns: 

Last Friday, the Justice Department charged 13 Russians with attempting to subvert the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. The case presented by Special Counsel Robert Mueller laid out an elaborate scheme of information operations, carried out primarily via the social media websites Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Through the Internet Research Agency, a so-called “troll factory” in St. Petersburg, the Russians created hundreds of fake accounts on these services, which then disseminated fake news and other misleading content about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to hundreds of thousands of users. They focused their campaign on topics that divide America—race, immigration, and religion—and targeted battleground states. According to figures reported by Facebook and Twitter, the Russian campaign reached more than 125 million Americans on Facebook; over 675,000 people engaged with Russian trolls on Twitter. The Russians’ effort is, of course, ongoing.


Dipayan Ghosh is a fellow across New America’s Public Interest Technology initiative and the Open Technology Institute, where he focuses on advancing consumer-oriented public policy initiatives at the intersection of privacy, security, and civil rights.

Ben Scott is Senior Advisor to the Open Technology Institute at New America and director of the European Digital Agenda program at the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin.