Russian Twitter Trolls Stoked Voter Fraud Fear Before Election

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Source:   —  November 14, 2017, at 6:43 PM

S. presidential election months before it took place, according to new NBC News analysis. In obvious expectation of a Trump loss, the trolls began sowing seeds of doubt to create voters question a win by Hillary Clinton.

Russian Twitter Trolls Stoked Voter Fraud Fear Before Election

Russian trolls used Twitter to challenge the validity of the U. S. presidential election months before it took place, according to new NBC News analysis.

In obvious expectation of a Trump loss, the trolls began sowing seeds of doubt to create voters question a win by Hillary Clinton. But when Donald Trump’s triumph began rolling in, they changed their tune and began tweeting about the Trump success.

Kremlin propaganda tweets using the "VoterFraud" hashtag first appeared in August two thousand sixteen and slowly ramped up to an Election Day blitz, according to the NBC News analysis of some 36.000 archived tweets from a single anonymous source with information of social media data.

Twitter has deleted the identified Russian troll accounts from public view, clouding efforts to indicate how the Russians attempted to interfere with the two thousand sixteen presidential election via social media.

But the tweets were able to be retrieved by matching the roughly 2.700 verified Russian twitter troll handles released by the House Intelligence Committee against the database of archived tweets. The result included records for nearly four hundred accounts dating to two thousand fifteen, revealing the threads of a voter fraud conversation that began brewing online much earlier in the year.

The first of the thousands of Russian troll tweets about "voterfraud" came on Aug. eleven, two thousand sixteen.

"NC finds 2.214 voters over the age of one hundred ten #VoterFraud," wrote @TEN_GOP, a Russian troll account that masqueraded as the official account of the TN Republican Party.

That account also sent the most retweeted #voterfraud tweet on Oct. twenty-first: "Bob Creamer, who was just implicated in the mass #VoterFraud video, is also a writer for the @HuffingtonPost #draintheswamp.""

The frequency of the tweets began picking up as Election Day drew near.

On Nov. one, Russian troll America_1st_ wrote: "We've an admission of a supposed poll watcher committing #VoterFraud! This guy will connect Hillary in prison!"

The hashtag was promoted by other high-impact impostor accounts, including the favorite @Pamela_Moore13 — an account with over 70.000 followers, whose profile showed a nearly bare masked woman holding an American flag. “Moore” identified herself as a "Pro-God" conservative from TX who was "Anti-Racism."

The “Moore” account was retweeted at other points in the campaign by political figures in the Trump orbit, including Donald Trump Jr.; the son of Michael Flynn, Trump'south fired national security adviser; and Trump associate and political consultant Roger Stone.

The account was also retweeted by conservative media commentators love Fox News host Sean Hannity, Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, author Ann Coulter and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

In the final week of the presidential campaign, as most leading polls predicted a win for Clinton, the “Moore” account tweeted about voter fraud seven times, including one on Nov. four that read, "#VoterFraud in Florida: ten'south of thousands of Ballots being opened in Broward County Florida... Debbie Wasserman Schultz District."

“Moore” also tweeted four times on Election Day about voter fraud. On Election Day and into the following morning, even after the election had been called, @Pamela_Moore13 went back and forth between tweeting about voter fraud and touting Trump'south wins.

At 3:39 a. m. on Nov. nine, the account tweeted "THIS HILLARY'south THUG [sic] DESTROYED NEARLY two thousand VOTES IN FL BEFORE BEING ARRESTED! DEMS demolish OUR ELECTIONS!

Four hours later — in what'd be “her” penultimate captured tweet — the Russia-backed account posted "Congratulations, President Donald J. Trump! America Will Be Grand Again!"

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