Russia's major goal on social media 'was to support Donald Trump,' according to two new reports commissioned by the Senate.
Two new reports, commissioned on a bipartisan basis from the Senate Intelligence Committee, leave no room for doubt: Russia used every major social media platform in an unabashed attempt to help Trump and hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.
"What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump," one of the reports says, according to a draft copy obtained by the Washington Post.
The New York Times, which reviewed a second report, adds, "A major goal was to support Donald Trump, first against his Republican rivals in the presidential race, then in the general election, and as president since his inauguration."
The reports detail exactly how the Internet Research Agency, a Russian propaganda firm, posted content on not just Facebook and Twitter, but also platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest, aimed at both supporting Trump and suppressing voter turnout among likely Clinton supporters.
According to the Post:
The Russians aimed particular energy at activating conservatives on issues such as gun rights and immigration, while sapping the political clout of left-leaning African American voters by undermining their faith in elections and spreading misleading information about how to vote. Many other groups — Latinos, Muslims, Christians, gay men and women, liberals, Southerners, veterans — got at least some attention from Russians operating thousands of social media accounts.
The Times goes into more detail on Russia's particular focus on dissuading African-Americans from showing up at the polls.
According to the Times, "The voter suppression effort was focused particularly on Sanders supporters and African-Americans, urging them to shun Mrs. Clinton in the general election and either vote for Ms. Stein or stay home."
The reports mirror the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies. Over the summer, Trump embarrassed himself on the global stage when he publicly rejected those conclusions and took Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's side during a press conference with Putin.
During the campaign, Clinton issued a prophetic warning that Trump would be "Putin's puppet."
Trump's weak, cowardly, servile attitude towards Putin, and his unwillingness to stand up for his own country, shows why Russia worked so hard to help put him in the Oval Office.
And with these new reports, we are beginning to understand how Russia did it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.