Russian trolls aimed to deter black U.S. voters

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It was produced by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity firm based in Texas, along with researchers at Columbia University Canfield Research.

The data in the reports "demonstrates how aggressively Russian Federation sought to divide Americans by race, religion and ideology, and how the IRA actively worked to erode trust in our democratic institutions", said the committee's Republican chairman, Richard Burr.

Facebook Inc's Instagram played a much bigger role in Russia's manipulation of U.S. voters than the company has previously discussed, and will be a key Russian tool in the 2020 elections, according to a report commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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"We've provided thousands of ads and pieces of content to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for review and shared information with the public about what we found", a Facebook spokesperson said.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill, following a closed door meeting in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2017.

The primary goal of the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) was to deepen divisions in USA society and convince Democrat-favoring liberals - including Latinos, youths and the LGBTQ community - not to vote, the report said.

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Oxford/Graphika said the Russians spread "sensationalist, conspiratorialist, and other forms of junk political news and misinformation to voters across the political spectrum".

The Russian activity went far beyond the three tech companies that provided information, reaching many smaller sites as well.

Separately, a portion of the 3,841 IRA accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube studied by the researchers sought to provoke Republican-leaning white Americans to get out and vote.

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Mueller has brought criminal charges against a series of Russian individuals and entities but those cases are still pending. Butina also faces the possibility she will be deported after she serves any prison sentence the judge choses to impose.

The IRA was set up by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a domestic social media propaganda operation. The New Knowledge report says there were a number of posts expressing support for Assange and Wikileaks, including several in October 2016 just before WikiLeaks released hacked emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Per the Post, Russian operatives made false claims on social media accounts that Mueller had worked in the past with "radical Islamic groups".

During the week of the presidential election, posts directed to right-leaning users aimed to generate anger and suspicion and hinted at voter fraud, but posts targeted at African-Americans largely ignored mentions of the election until the very last minute. Trump has denied any collusion between Russian Federation and his campaign.

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