Internet Research Agency trolls infiltrated and exerted influence in online communities with both left- and right-leaning political views. That helped them muddy the waters on both sides, stirring discord across the political spectrum.
…When declaring their locations, they listed a country, but not any particular city in that country. That’s unusual: Most Twitter users tend to be more specific, listing a state or town.
…They frequently reset their online personas by changing account information like their name and description and by mass-deleting past tweets. In this way, the same account – still retaining its followers – could be repurposed to advocate a different position or target a different demographic of users.
…These troll accounts also often tweeted links to posts from Russian government-sponsored organizations purporting to be news.
…In early 2018, Reddit announced that Russian trolls had likely operated on its site as well.
…Russian trolls could take advantage of that tendency to infiltrate these smaller sites, like Gab or Minds, influencing real people who also use those systems – and getting them to spread propaganda and disinformation more widely.
It’s clear to us that technological solutions on their own cannot solve the problem of government-sponsored trolling online.