SAN FRANCISCO, April 17 (Reuters) - Microsoft said on Wednesday that Russian online campaigns to influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election kicked into gear over the past 45 days, but at a slower pace than in past elections.

Russia-linked accounts are disseminating divisive content aimed at U.S. audiences, including criticising American support of Ukraine in its war with Russia, researchers at the tech giant said in a report.

While the Russian activity Microsoft observed is not as intense as around the previous elections, it could increase in the coming months, the researchers said.

“Messaging regarding Ukraine - via traditional media and social media - picked up steam over the last two months with a mix of covert and overt campaigns from at least 70 Russia-affiliated activity sets we track,” Microsoft said.

The most prolific of such Russian campaigns is linked to Russia’s Presidential Administration, they added. Another one is aimed at posting disinformation online in various languages, with posts typically starting with an apparent whistleblower or citizen journalist posting content on a video channel. That content is then covered by a network of websites that include DC Weekly, Miami Chronical and The Intel Drop.

  • theprogressivist
    251 month ago

    I thought it was already happening for the last 8 years?

  • @mipadaitu
    141 month ago

    Just look at the down voted comments in any politics thread on Lemmy. Probably half of them are obvious trolls, paid or unpaid.

    • OptionalOP
      91 month ago

      Sometimes they call themselves “republicans”

    • @magiccupcake
      31 month ago

      Is lemmy really big enough for trolls?

      It just seems so, pointless? Not very effective at reaching a lot of people.

      • bobburger
        61 month ago

        One of the key entry points for disinformation campaigns are small communities with individuals sympathetic to the propaganda/misinformation. 10 or 15 sock puppet accounts pushing the same narrative will have an outsized impact on the discourse of a community like ours.

        The sympathetic individuals then multiply the propaganda and spread it to more mainstream platforms.

        It should also be noted that in first past the post voting voter suppression of one candidate is as effective or even more effective than convincing someone to vote for the other.

      • @Ensign_Crab
        11 month ago

        It’s easier to dismiss deviations from centrist orthodoxy as the output of russian operatives.

    • @Skyrmir
      71 month ago

      Overall the efforts never stopped, specific ops tend to get aged out on a regular basis. There’s always something, it’s just usually someone else after a few months.

  • @ghostdoggtv
    11 month ago

    It’s curious that this wasn’t posted until after they started conducting massive bot attacks on Ukrainian journalists on platforms like YouTube etc. Give Ukraine their nukes back and this all ends tomorrow.