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Reddit Admits Russian Trolls Got Into Website During 2016 Election ( 345

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VICE News: Reddit says it has identified and removed hundreds of Russian propaganda accounts, a few days after reports revealed that Russian trolls were active on the platform during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In a post Monday, Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman said his site operators had been investigating for awhile and had found a few hundred accounts suspected to be of Russian origin or linked to known sources of Russian propaganda. "Of course, every account we find expands our search a little more," he said, also claiming the "vast majority" of the suspicious accounts were banned back in 2015-2016. An even bigger challenge was the problem of "indirect propaganda," where content produced by accounts now known to be Russian trolls was enthusiastically shared by Trump supporters on subreddits such as r/The_Donald. Reddit's investigation followed a report from The Daily Beast, based on leaked internal data from Kremlin-backed troll farm the Internet Research Agency, that confirmed Russian trolls were active on the site, as well as Tumblr, in their mission to spread disinformation, divide Americans and disrupt U.S. politics. The Washington Post reports that congressional investigators looking into the Russian issue intend to question Reddit and Tumblr over their involvement.
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Reddit Admits Russian Trolls Got Into Website During 2016 Election

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  • Russians (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2018 @09:18AM (#56238441)

    I was a lifelong straight ticket Democrat voter until 2016.

    The Russians didn't make me vote for Trump.

    Hillary Clinton, CNN, Jimmy Kimmel, HuffPo, WaPo, MSNBC, Madonna, etc, etc, etc made me vote for Trump.

    They were so god damn smug, condescending, elitist, insulting, divisive, and arrogant... It made Trump's personality flaws look endearing in comparison, and voting for him was my big "fuck you".

    No. The Russians didn't divide us. The Democrats and their media stooge propagandists did. Fuck them all to hell. I will never vote Democrat ever again, even though I disagree profoundly with the Republicans on most issues.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      "What happens to me is a precise guide for happens with everyone else"

      Oh, and stop pretending you weren't always voting Trump. It's pretty clear.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > On the first topic, ads, there is not much to share. We don’t see a lot of ads from Russia, either before or after the 2016 election, and what we do see are mostly ads promoting spam and ICOs. Presently, ads from Russia are blocked entirely, and all ads on Reddit are reviewed by humans. Moreover, our ad policies prohibit content that depicts intolerant or overly contentious political or cultural views.

    > As for direct propaganda, that is, content from accounts we suspect are of Russian origin o

    • by Entrope ( 68843 )

      Shocking news: Russian trolls will try to make their exploits seem bigger and more impactful than they really were, especially if they can stoke partisan divisions at the same time. Like other megalomaniacs, they like talking about themselves, talking about other people talking about them, etc.

  • Seriously Russia, internet trolls & elections??

    Clearly the more we hear about this the more false it is. After all, who has an interest to spread such lies? The west! -With their anti-Russian propoganda.

    You see if the US/CIA blame Russia for Trump being elected then uhm...that means his election wasn;t meddling or collusion but an inside job by the intelligence community that seem to hate Trump...hmmm.

    Maybe it isn't all Anti-Trump/Anti-Russia BS. Maybe we're just finding more EVEIDENCE.

    But hey w
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday March 10, 2018 @09:37AM (#56238515) Journal
    None of the people who were fooled by Russian trolls will admit they were taken by the Ruskies. They will vigorously defend their decisions and justify using whatever they could. And they will destroy every institution that can prove them wrong. Law enforcement, media... any thing that holds a mirror up to them will be declared as libtard unpatriotic sore losers.

    Emboldened Russians will meddle even more in the next election.

    Low turn out in the off year primaries in just a few states decides the fate of the whole nation.

    Combine the Democratic and the Republican primaries and let the top two go for general election. In most red states two Republicans will run for the same seat. Though Democrats will suffer in the short term, there is some chance sanity will return and Republicans will stop fearing being primaried from the right.

    • Fooled how? To believe what? Based on what statements? How does this factor in to the electoral process?

      The list of unanswered questions grows long.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HermMunster ( 972336 )

      The media did it to themselves. The media discredited itself. The media is private business. The media is often owned by billionaires whom are some of the richest people in the world. Jeff Bezos is a perfect example. Bezos owns the WaPo and is either the richest man in the world or he is second in line. He has no need for the WaPo as far as profit is concerned as it is a loosing proposition. The richest man in the world owns the WaPo to fulfill his agenda. The media did this to themselves. The Amer

    • And of course, the Reddit CEO claims no responsibility in this, but who is he kidding.

      With rules like "No criticism of Donald Trump allowed" in some of these subs as the #1 rule to follow, it means that if you're genuinely trying to correct a piece of false information, the mods of these subs will automatically ban you for it.

      Think about it for a minute. If someone were to equate Donald Trump to be a god-like person on one these subs (like folks frequently do in North Korea with their great dear leader), or

      • There is nothing inherently wrong about people overdosing on their favorite topic. It's when they make it their reality that it becomes a problem for the rest of us.

        Beam me up scotty - Jim K.

    • I wonder how much time Cheney spends kicking himself these days. Why go through all the trouble of faking evidence of Saddam's WMD's when he could have made a series of vague, ever-changing series of assertions and people would just suck that shit up with a straw?

    • Some people may be "fooled' by a troll, but with zero consequence..

      It's like claiming that some people now crave pictures of assholes because they fell for a Goatse link on Slashdot.

      I mean, really.

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      None of the people who were fooled by Russian trolls will admit they were taken by the Ruskies.

      It's an extremely difficult (near impossible) task to design a rigorous experimental protocol that can accurately track decision-making cause and effect, especially concerning a decision potentially buffeted by hundreds of distinct forces.

      Do you really know why you do what you do? [] — recorded November 2016

      Experimental psychologist Petter Johansson researches choice blindness — a phenomenon where we conv

  • by kentrel ( 526003 ) on Saturday March 10, 2018 @10:19AM (#56238663) Journal
    Steve Huffman of Reddit is an admitted faker. He's admitted gaming reddit for years, first to get the site some unearned exposure, then to boost staff posts, and more recently changes to the algorithm to suppress the popularity of the_donald reaching the front page. He stealth edited posts on the_donald by directly writing to the database so the post wouldn't look like it was edited. He faked it so it seemed like the original user said those things. The_Donald users archive their site daily so things like that become easy to spot and prove, and he was forced to apologize.

    Reddit is predominantly white and male. Trump's supporters are predominantly white and male. It stands to reason they would be highly active on reddit as they are on other forums like 4chan, and so on. Yet if you listen to Steve Huffman he seems to act like they are a minority on the site and any activity must be Russian Trolls. It just doesn't seem likely.

    These CEOs want us to believe they have these brilliant investigative skills into this mythical army of russian trolls, yet they can't cover their own traces when they manipulate votes, edit people's posts or alter algorithms to favor political forums they agree with.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Sub Reddit dedicated to conspiracy theories thinks there is a conspiracy against them, and then does the most trump thing possible by launching an ad hominem attack.

      Any comment on the actual story, by the way?

  • What was the point in banning the account when on Reddit you just create another username and you're away again? You don't even have to bother with all the hassle of creating another email address for verification. Bans on Reddit are as much use as a chocolate fireguard.
    • A couple hundred accounts? For a reddit troll, that's what, 2-3 actual people?

      The news stories about Russian trolls in various websites have probably been seen 10,000x more than any of their actually trolling messages ever were.

  • They didn't "get into" it, as per the headline. They just signed up, as anyone can, and posted. That's the whole point of Reddit.

    Anyway, we all know that inside every Russian troll is another, slightly smaller, Russian troll.

  • 3 or so years ago it was a running joke that Russian "infiltrators" were running around Slashdot, with obvious bias, trying to steer conversations around in the comments section. Suddenly, in 2018, that joke is seen is absurd, not happening, never ever, not on THIS website, and how dare you for suggesting!

    One wonders if they actually won the Slashdot "battle" when no one was noticing.

    Hail, Comrade. How is St. Petersburg this time of year?

  • Reddit is notorious for pervasive, aggressive Chinese-style censorship. They have zero credibility. Why does anyone believe a word they say?

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet