Report details online effort Russia took to influence 2016 election


WASHINGTON D.C. (NBC News) — Two new reports commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee lay out the stunning steps taken by Russians to influence the 2016 election.

They detail a plan much more elaborate than initially thought, aiming to suppress votes, specifically those of African-Americans.

One of the reports describes messaging that clearly sought to benefit the Republican party, and specifically, Donald Trump.

It’s the work of the Russia-based firm “Internet Research Agency” run by a close ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The group created 30 Facebook pages and bought ads specifically targeting African-Americans.

Other posts spread negative and false images of Hillary Clinton.

All told, they racked up more than 263 million engagements across platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter.

“They’ve got some very sophisticated efforts on platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and others that we previously didn’t understand were being infiltrated by the Russians,” says former National Security Council Director for Russia Michael Carpenter. 

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