What is True? What is Fake?

Russian trolling specialists alter their tactics to continue to rob Americans of money.


Project DATA (Digital Ad Tracking & Analysis)

A meme posted on Russian-run instagram account "iowa.patriot" to support president Trump's reelection

Russian trolling specialists have become more careful, using subtle tactics to provide misinformation to a large portion of the United States population through faceless techniques such as telephone calls.

Trolling specialists are located all around the world, but Russia, specifically, targets the United States for money through scamming tactics such as posing as a certain company or brand. Often through telephone conversations, specialists use their hidden identity to pose as certain businesses or organizations to demand money from listeners. 

A series of Instagram posts uncovered by researchers showed that Russians are “better at impersonating candidates,” and that they have found better, more subtle ways to scam U.S citizens of money. 

In the past, specialists have posed as counterfeit advocacy groups in an attempt to scam U.S citizens of mass amounts of money. Now, as specialists become more subtle with their tactics, they have converted to mimicking American groups, such as water and electricity businesses, to make their intentions even harder to spot. 

Even though Russia’s specialists have already scammed the US of millions of dollars over the past decade, their intentions go even further than just going after citizens for money. Intelligence officials have recently discovered that Russia is interfering in the 2020                                                                                                              elections, much like they did in the 2016 elections. 

Several reports have shown that Russia is tampering with the 2020 election, swinging results towards the reelection of current president Trump, and also “meddling in the Democratic primaries,” attempting to help Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign. These reports, however, don’t reveal all the details of Russia’s plans. 

Photo posted on instagram account “iowa.patriot.” Original post was taken down, and the account was traced back to Russia.

“All images are from Instagram (September 2019). The posts and identified accounts were later taken down by the company for links to the Internet Research Agency. The identities of non-IRA parties including domestic political groups’ logos, the faces of ordinary citizens, and comments by non-IRA users are redacted.”

In September 2019, multiple social media posts were discovered, which all used similar tactics to those of the Internet Research Agency (IRA) found during the 2016 elections. Several weeks later, “Facebook announced that it had taken down about 75,000 posts across 50 IRA-linked accounts from Facebook (one account) and Instagram (50 accounts).” 

Some strategies, such as posing as U.S citizens, including political groups, are being used once again to tamper with the election. Specialists have also resorted to harassing and discouraging voters of a certain party, which will lead to less votes for a certain candidate. 

Photo posted on instagram account “bernie.2020_.” Original post taken down, and the whereabouts of the individual who runs the account has not been released.

Even though the IRA is continuing to use their past tactics to meddle with the election, they have also started to use more subtle, sly approaches to continue to alter the election. Specialists have drifted away from using fake groups and have started to mimic logos of American businesses, as                                                  well as using nonpolitical content to further hide their intentions.  

Even though the specialists have gone to father lengths to hide their true intentions, there is already a lot of evidence found showing their support for Trump’s presidency, as well as their plans to persuade Americans into paying them more money.