Democrats trying to defeat Roy Moore created fake online campaign: report

Democrats in Alabama created a deceptive online campaign in 2017 meant to help defeat Republican Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreTrump to hold rally in Sessions's hometown for opponent in Senate runoff: report Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama Sessions goes after Tuberville's coaching record in challenging him to debate MORE in a special election, The New York Times reported Monday. 

The "Dry Alabama" campaign reportedly featured a Facebook page and a Twitter account suggesting that Moore supported a statewide ban on alcohol.

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The campaign is the second revelation of a disinformation campaign used by Democrats in the special election, according to the Times. The newspaper reported last month that New Knowledge, a cybersecurity research firm, used social media posts to spread disinformation in the race.

Both campaigns were reportedly modeled after the disinformation campaign carried out by Russia on social media ahead of the 2016 presidential election, a campaign that aimed to help then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' MORE defeat Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCan Republicans handle the aftermath of Donald Trump? Biden seeks to supplant Trump in Georgia Hillary Clinton: 'I would have done a better job' handling coronavirus MORE.

Each of the disinformation campaigns in Alabama received $100,000 from Investing in Us, a group that supports progressive political causes, according to the Times.

Matt Osborne, a progressive activist who worked on the "Dry Alabama" campaign, told the newspaper that Democrats had no choice but to use disinformation if they wanted to level the playing field with Republicans.

“If you don’t do it, you’re fighting with one hand tied behind your back,” Osborne said. “You have a moral imperative to do this — to do whatever it takes.”

Moore lost the special election to Democrat Doug Jones, who is serving the remainder of the term that ends in 2021. The special election was triggered after former Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSupreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report Tuberville campaign bus catches fire in Alabama MORE (R-Ala.) left his post to serve as attorney general.

Jones last month condemned the first disinformation campaign that was revealed by the Times and called for an investigation.