• Stirring Chaos: Senate Report Confirms Russia’s U.S. Social Media Scheme

    Surge Summary: A new Senate report confirms Russian efforts pre- and post-2016 elections to use social media to sow discord and diminish public confidence in the machinery of American government. Other nations hostile to the US are now getting involved in the same. 

    As the sham impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s actions on Ukraine begins, Hillary Clinton says that it appears “that there is evidence of abuse of power and obstruction of justice and contempt of Congress.” PBS Correspondent Judy Woodruff interviewed Hillary Clinton, who dragged her daughter Chelsea onto the show.  (See PBS video for interview)

    Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) released a new report titled, “Russia’s Use of Social Media.” It is the second volume released in the Committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election cycle.

    The Intelligence Committee report published Tuesday on Russia’s election cycle shenanigans in 2016 determines that Russia-based computer hackers and misinformation masters played a significant role amplifying online resistance to the election of President Donald Trump.

    Russian operatives for the Internet Research Agency (IRA) were quite helpful in stirring up strife inside the U.S. following the election, according to this latest report, which focuses on disinformation fed to Americans on the Internet.

    IRA operatives flooded America’s social media with hashtags promoting resistance to a Trump White House, the report established.

    “After Election Day, left-leaning IRA accounts were promoting hashtags such as ‘#Impeach45,’ ‘#Resist,’ and ‘#GunReformNow,’” the report notes, adding that “right-leaning IRA accounts were focused on the NFL kneeling controversy,” as well as hashtags criticizing the FBI’s activities during the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the so-called Trump-Russia Collusion scandal.

    In a statement from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, he said:

    “Russia is waging an information warfare campaign against the U.S. that didn’t start and didn’t end with the 2016 election. Their goal is broader: to sow societal discord and erode public confidence in the machinery of government. By flooding social media with false reports, conspiracy theories, and trolls, and by exploiting existing divisions, Russia is trying to breed distrust of our democratic institutions and our fellow Americans. While Russia may have been the first to hone the modern disinformation tactics outlined in this report, other adversaries, including China, North Korea, and Iran, are following suit.

    “Any solution has to balance America’s national security interests with our constitutionally-protected right to free speech. Social media companies, federal agencies, law enforcement, and Congress must work together to address these challenges, and I am grateful for the cooperation our Committee has gotten from both the Intelligence Community and the tech industry. My hope is that by continuing to shine a light on this issue, we will encourage more Americans to use social media responsibly, as discerning and informed consumers.”

    Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia.

    In a statement from Vice-Chairman Mark Warner, D-Virginia, he said:

    “The bipartisan work that this Committee has done to uncover and detail the extent of that effort has significantly advanced the public’s understanding of how, in 2016, Russia took advantage of our openness and innovation, exploiting American-bred social media platforms to spread disinformation, divide the public, and undermine our democracy. Now, with the 2020 elections on the horizon, there’s no doubt that bad actors will continue to try to weaponize the scale and reach of social media platforms to erode public confidence and foster chaos. The Russian playbook is out in the open for other foreign and domestic adversaries to expand upon – and their techniques will only get more sophisticated.

    “As was made clear in 2016, we cannot expect social media companies to take adequate precautions on their own. Congress must step up and establish guardrails to protect the integrity of our democracy. At minimum, we need to demand transparency around social media to prevent our adversaries from hiding in its shadows. We also need to give Americans more control over their data and how it’s used, and make sure that they know who’s really bankrolling the political ads coming across their screens. Additionally, we need to take measures to guarantee that companies are identifying inauthentic user accounts and pages, and appropriately handling defamatory or synthetic content. It’s our responsibility to listen to the warnings of our Intelligence Community and take steps to prevent future attacks from being waged on our own social media platforms.”

    Originally posted here.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge. 

    Image adapted from: Дмитрий Осипенко from Pixabay 


    Jim Kouri

    Jim Kouri

    Conservative Base's editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist,  and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show. He's the author of two books: "Crime Talk: Conversations with America's Top Law Enforcement Officers" and "Assume the Position: Police Science for Journalists and Screenwriters."

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