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Russian Trolls Are Trying To Interfere In Midterm Elections, Report Finds

Ahead of the midterm elections, Russia renewed its strategy of using internet trolls to influence American politics, undermine trust in the electoral system and spread the idea that the U.S. should not fund Ukraine in its conflict with Moscow.

In the past few months, trolls have been targeting conservatives on social media platforms like Gab, Gettr and Parler to spread these ideas, according to Recorded Future and two other social media research companies, Graphika and Mandiant.

Recorded Future was able to track one of those accounts, identified as Nora Berka. The account resurfaced in August after a year without posting. The new batch of posts includes insults to President Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats, as well as critics to Ukraine.

The account was previously linked to the same secretive Russian agency that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and again in 2020, the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, according to Recorded Future.

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The firm observed that the new attempts are narrower, an effort to increase engagement with users that are likely to embrace conspiracy theories.

“The audiences are much, much smaller than on your other traditional social media networks,” said Brian Liston, a senior intelligence analyst with Recorded Future. “But you can engage the audiences in much more targeted influence ops because those who are on these platforms are generally U.S. conservatives who are maybe more accepting of conspiratorial claims.”

One of the posts tracked by the research firm cites specifically the funding to Ukraine.

“As working class Americans struggle to afford food, gas, and find baby formula, Joe Biden wants to spend $13.7 billion more in aid to Ukraine,” the account posted, echoing what many Republicans have said about the Biden administration.

Marcello Correa

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