Putin’s trolls targeted America, not Hillary

The Fb advertisements positioned by a Russian troll farm and launched Wednesday present the Russian propaganda marketing campaign of 2016 didn’t favor both Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. As an alternative, it mocked and goaded America.

This instantly contradicts US intelligence assessments. “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an affect marketing campaign in 2016 aimed on the US presidential election,” the evaluation launched in January said. “Russia’s objectives have been to undermine public religion within the US democratic course of, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and hurt her electability and potential presidency. We additional assess Putin and the Russian authorities developed a transparent choice” for Trump.

If the advertisements positioned by the St. Petersburg Web Analysis Company, a troll collective linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-related restaurateur, mirror the technique of the affect marketing campaign, the intelligence group was incorrect. The advertisements backed white nationalist in addition to black causes. They typically focused Clinton earlier than the election however switched to attacking Trump afterward. The advertisements towards each have been even visually comparable.

A conceivable protection of the intelligence conclusion is you can’t intrude within the election after the voters have chosen, so solely the anti-Clinton bias of the Russian marketing campaign actually made a distinction. That argument is lame, nevertheless.

Neither the trolls with their tiny budgets (at greatest, tons of of hundreds of dollars in contrast with the lots of of hundreds of thousands spent by the candidates and their US backers) nor Russian state media with their laughable attain might’ve hoped to form the election end result. That might assume they knew extra about US-based mostly affect instruments than the whole US political business.

Even at present, one of the best Russian specialists on the political makes use of of the social networks consider it might’ve been unattainable to tip the scales. Leonid Volkov, an Web entrepreneur and marketing campaign supervisor to Putin’s No. 1 home foe Alexei Navalny, wrote on Fb on Thursday:

“When individuals talk about, in all seriousness, ‘election interference’ by the use of $one hundred,000 value of Fb advertisements (a whole lot of occasions lower than the Clinton and Trump campaigns spent on FB advertisements), when main political publications present as ‘proof’ hellish footage probably the most viral of which garnered all of 200,000 views (and most acquired just a few thousand; 500 rubles — not thousand dollars, not even dollars — was spent on selling a few of them) . . . it’s, above…

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