Instagram played a much bigger role in Russia’s manipulation of U.S. voters than the company has previously discussed, and will be a key Russian tool in the 2020 elections, according to a report commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The Russian Internet Research Agency, the troll farm that has sought to divide Americans with misinformation and meme content around the 2016 election, received more engagement on Instagram than it did on any other social media platform, including Facebook, according to a joint report by three groups of researchers.
…There were 187 million interactions with Instagram content, compared with 77 million on Facebook and 73 million on Twitter, according to a data set of posts between 2015 and 2018, analyzed by New Knowledge, Columbia University and Canfield Research.
…It could also mean the IRA used click farms to boost their numbers.
…Content that the IRA posted sparked conversation, with the overall goal of emboldening followers of Donald Trump and criticizing Hillary Clinton, sometimes in subtle ways. About 40 percent of the Instagram accounts achieved more than 10,000 followers, and 12 had over 100,000 followers. The biggest account, @blackstagram__, attracted 303,663 followers, and may have used e-commerce to make money or gather information about U.S. voters. Another account, @femenism_tag, promoted feminist ideas and the idea that Clinton was a bad feminist.