In October 2016, Pennsylvania social media accounts promoted “Miners for Trump” rallies around the state with a picture of a gritty coal miner. The rallies coincided with a series of presidential campaign rallies by then-candidate Donald Trump.
It turns out the social media promotions were not created by U.S. coal miners, however. Instead, they were the work of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s recently released report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The IRA was the largest of the Russian efforts to help elect Trump to the presidency by manipulating social media. It housed hundreds of professional hackers in one St. Petersburg building, creating thousands of fake posts and comments a day.
As the Mueller report explains, the IRA organized U.S.-based rallies “from June 2016 until the end of the presidential campaign… often promoting the Trump campaign and opposing the Clinton campaign.” [Continue reading…]