Russian trolls had burst of activity for pro-Trump website: report

Russian trolls had burst of activity for pro-Trump website: report
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Russian social media operatives stepped up activity last year to boost a website known for inaccurate content favorable toward President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE, eight months after carrying out a disinformation campaign during the 2016 campaign.

Bloomberg News reports that a joint investigation from two Clemson University professors and the website FiveThirtyEight found that Russian trolls surged in activity in July 2017 to boost the website "Truthfeed."

Truthfeed is a website known for publishing false and exaggerated stories with pro-Trump headlines, according to Bloomberg.

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By October, content from the Truthfeed website accounted for about 95 percent of all of the St. Petersberg, Russia-based Internet Research Agency's English-language content, a sign of a major, concerted effort to boost the site's content.

Tweets posted by Russian-linked accounts sent users to a now-defunct website that was reposting dozens of Truthfeed stories every day, the report claims.

“For a period of time, Truthfeed was central to their entire effort,” associate Clemson professor Darren Linvill told Bloomberg.

There's no evidence to suggest that Truthfeed's staff, who did not respond to Bloomberg's request for comment, knew about the Russian effort, the researchers say.

The site, unlike nearly all of the Twitter accounts known to be linked to the Internet Research Agency, still remains active today.

Linvill said that Truthfeed's existence and use by Russian agents was proof that the Internet Research Agency was boosting a phenomenon of fake news that already existed.

“They were putting a lot of effort into something they didn’t have to, because Americans were already doing it ourselves,” Linvill said to Bloomberg. “We have plenty of divisive content and plenty of content that is dubious in its basis in fact. We have a lot of sites out there doing this, especially Truthfeed.”

Russia's election interference efforts are a central focus of the ongoing special counsel investigation, which has so far named dozens of Russian nationals as co-conspirators in 2016 efforts to sow disinformation and disseminate divisive rhetoric during the presidential election.