Russian trolls pushed pro-Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE (I-Vt.) and anti-Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE content on Tumblr around the time of the election.
Kremlin-linked accounts used the blogging platform to pose as black activists to promote their messages, according to researcher Jonathan Albright and BuzzFeed News.
“The evidence we've collected shows a highly engaged and far-reaching Tumblr propaganda-op targeting mostly teenage and twenty-something African Americans. This appears to have been part of an ongoing campaign since early 2015,” Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, told BuzzFeed.
In many instances, Tumblr accounts featured their corresponding Twitter accounts, which were revealed by the company to be linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll farm” that pushed misinformation on Facebook and Twitter around the time of the election.
Many of the accounts featured names like 4mysquad, Blacktolive and Bleepthepolice, and pushed both messages of racial empowerment and incendiary content that sparked outrage.
4mysquad, for example, galvanized outrage when it posted a video of a police officer assaulting a black teenager, falsely claiming that the officer worked for the New York Police Department.
BuzzFeed reports that the 4mysquad accrued hundreds of thousands of followers.
The accounts also pushed anti-Clinton rhetoric during the election, including a video from the 1990s in which Clinton called black gang members "superpredators."
4mysquad also posted a photo of Clinton hugging former Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who had been a member of the KKK in the 1940s, with the text, “Hillary Clinton embracing KKK leader Robert Byrd, where is the media on this?”
Following the primary elections, the same accounts began to push content in support of President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE’s bid for the White House.
Congressional investigators have focused their probe of Russian influence on internet platforms on social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google, however, the Tumblr accounts suggest that influence efforts were likely not limited to the platforms of these three companies.