Donald Trump’s allies in Russia are trying to help him out by attacking special counsel Robert Mueller.
The Washington Post reported Monday evening that a new report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee shows that Mueller has become a target of Russian social media warfare efforts. The report also shows how Russia helped Trump win the 2016 election.
As Mueller is close to finishing his investigation, Russian “bots” on social media sites are extensively spreading false information about the prosecutor to hurt his reputation and undermine public confidence and trust in the FBI and Department of Justice.
The Post reported that there are several teams of disinformation operatives working for Russian intelligence agencies under Vladimir Putin. These Russian operatives have created huge numbers of posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks attacking Mueller. They have alleged that Mueller is corrupt and that his investigation into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia is based on conspiracy theories and is a “witch hunt.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee report also noted that Instagram was an especially effective platform for the bots. Posts on that popular social media platform claimed that the special counsel had worked for “radical Islamic groups.”
According to the Post, the report:
“describes the Russian campaign with sweep and detail not before available. The researchers analyzed more than 10 million posts and messages on every major social media platform to understand how the Russians used American technology to build a sprawling online disinformation machine, with each piece playing a designated role while supporting the others with links and other connections.”
They also said that they can’t defeat the Russian disinformation campaign since they have large numbers of operatives moving easily from platform to platform. This makes it impossible to detect and delete misleading posts because there are just too many of them. It’s like trying to fight back a tidal wave of information that just keeps coming in large numbers no matter what steps are taken to attempt to stop it.
Renee DiResta, research director at one of the companies that prepared the report, said that she hoped the report would “provide clarity for the American people and policymakers alike, and make clear the sweeping scope of the operation and the long game being played.”
If we are to save American democracy we must find a way to stop Russia from using social media to destroy American institutions. If we don’t stop the Russian bots and social media disinformation campaigns, then lawlessness will rule, and criminals will be allowed to take over our government. Stopping these attacks on Mueller and the FBI and other government agencies must become a top priority of the U.S. government.
Russian bots helped Donald Trump win the presidency, and they are working hard now trying to keep him there.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.