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Tag: propaganda

Russian Troll Farms Disproportionately Targeted African Americans, Congressional Reports Show

An image posted by a Russian troll farm, Black4Black.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Russia’s campaign to spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential race disproportionately targeted African Americans on numerous social media platforms, more than previously known, according to reports commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Two reports show the extent to which the Russian Internet Research Agency, a troll farm, sought to divide Americans with misinformation and meme content during the election.

One of the primary goals of the campaign, which was launched on every major social media platform, was to support Trump and to stir up racial tensions, according to the reports. 

The social media accounts were designed to look like Africans Americans were running the accounts, when in fact Russians had created and ran them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube and Reddit. The reports emphasized that Russia made an extraordinary effort to target African Americans.

“The most prolific I.R.A. efforts on Facebook and Instagram specifically targeted black American communities and appear to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets,” one of the reports reads.

Black4Black, an account and website created by Russian troll farms.

The report adds that while “other distinct ethnic and religious groups were the focus of one or two Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts, the black community was targeted extensively with dozens.” 

Some of the examples include Facebook ads targeting users interested in black history, Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. The most popular was an Instagram account called @blackstagram that gained more than 300,000 followers.

In addition, the troll farm created a dozen websites that looked like they were run by African Americans, with names like blackmattersus.com, blacktivist.info, blacktolive.org and blacksoul.us. 

Russian-created YouTube accounts played a big role in covering the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, creating channels called “Don’t Shoot” and “BlackToLive.”

Simultaneously, the Russians created “Southern pride” accounts with Confederate flags.

The tactic of sowing racial divisions is nothing new with Russians, who decades ago exploited the sensitive topic of race in the U.S. to turn Americans on each other.

Many Trump voters cited anti-brutality protests as a reason they supported the president.

Alarmingly, the reports warned that Russians continue to use the social media platforms and plant to launch similar propaganda during the 2020 elections.

Facebook Warned U.S. Government of Suspected Russian Hackers Before Election

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Read more »

FBI Interviews Former Sputnik Reporter To Determine If Agency Should Register as Foreign Agent

sputnik_logo-svgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI suspects the Russian web-based media outlet Sputnik was a propaganda machine that spread misinformation during the 2016 election in an attempt to get Donald Trump elected.

To further understand the internal working of Sputnik, the FBI interviewed one of its former employees – an American journalist named Andrew Feinberg.

The FBI interviewed Feinberg for two hours on Sept. 1 in hopes of learning more about the inner workings of the suspected propaganda machine, CBS News reports

So what did the FBI want to know?

“They wanted to know how I ended up there, you know, who paid me, who signed my checks, what a typical day was like,” Feinberg told CBS News national security correspondent Jeff Pegues. “Who I took my orders from … they wanted to know everything.”

Agents believe Sputnik was involved in “covert intelligence operations” and “paid media trolls.”

Feinberg said he was fired after just four months for refusing to write a story that he believed was wrong.

“They only will run a story … when it meets a certain criteria that the angle that the story takes is one that meets their worldview,” he said.

“The worldview of Vladimir Putin?” Pegues asked.

“Well that’s where the money’s coming from,” Feinberg said.

FBI Monitored ‘Fake News’ Aimed at Undermining Presidential Election

Cyber crime expert, via FBI.

Cyber crime expert, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump has repeatedly called American news sites “fake news” in an attempt to undermine stories that are hurting his credibility.

What the president doesn’t mention is that Russia is suspected of blanketing social media with “fake news” as part of a disinformation campaign to help Trump get elected.

Now CNN reports that the FBI was monitoring social media on Election Day for viral “news” of conspiracies and hoaxes, primarily focused on Hillary Clinton. 

FBI cyber and counterintelligence analysts have identified user accounts behind what appeared to be a propaganda campaign based overseas to flood social media with “fake news.”

“We were right on the edge of Constitutional legality,” a person briefed on the investigation said. “We were monitoring news.”

Trump Administration Halts Weekly Reports on Sanctuary Cities – for Now

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration has temporarily ceased publishing a controversial weekly report about municipalities that won’t work with federal immigration officials.

The New York Times reports that the publication contained misleading and sensational information that incensed law enforcement officials in so-called sanctuary cities.

Critics have argued that the report is propaganda designed to pressure cities to cooperate with federal officials.

The agency said it’s working to “analyze and refine its reporting methodologies,” according to an ICE spokesman.

House Homeland Security Chairman McCaul Says ISIS ‘Winning’ Propaganda War

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, expressed concern Sunday with attacks in Canada and New York City by alleged Muslim radicals.

The self-radicalized Muslims are “one of the greatest threats” to the U.S., he said.

The Islamic State is trying to radicalize Americans using the Internet, he said.

Islamic terrorists “are waging a campaign of war against the West and the United States, and these are three examples, just last week, of where they’re winning,” he said.

FBI Turns to Propaganda in Faux News Report to Pump Up Triumphs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is promoting itself using a faux journalism report on the radio that is intended to sound like a real new agency, the Daily Signal reports.

One new cast begins, “In a move demonstrating the FBI’s valuable role of protecting national security, Director James Comey creates a separate Intelligence Branch…”

Instead of using a real news anchor, the FBI is using a public affairs specialist.

The program is called “FBI This Week” and is aired regularly on the radio.

“[T]he programs that we produce are ultimately designed to aid and assist the public in protecting itself against crime,” says Susan McKee, the FBI’s chief of investigative publicity and public affairs.

The FBI Listed ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ As Communist Propaganda Intended to Malign the Upper Class

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a Christmas classic that has brought countless families together since the film’s release in 1946. 

But the FBI saw something far more sinister – Communist propaganda that “deliberately maligned the upper class,” according to Quartz.com., which cites a 1947 FBI report.

You see, Mr. Potter, the depraved banker who brings George Bailey close to bankruptcy and suicide “represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture.”

According to the FBI, it’s “a common trick used by communists.”

What the FBI apparently neglected to note was that George and Peter Bailey also are bankers.

“I think Mr. Capra’s picture, though it had a banker as villain, could not be properly called a Communist picture,” film critic John Charles Moffitt testified at the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. “It showed that the power of money can be used oppressively, and it can be used benevolently.”

It wasn’t uncommon in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s for the FBI to accused filmmakers of creating Communist propaganda.