How Russia’s Troll Farm Is Changing Tactics Before the Fall Election

From 2014 to 2017, the troll farm ran Facebook accounts with overt pro-American, pro-black and pro-Southern culture themes. The names of the accounts mimicked brands.

Their reach was vast. One Facebook page that the group operated, Blacktivist, which focused on black activism, collected over 360,000 followers by September 2017. This surpassed the followers on the verified Black Lives Matter Facebook account, which at the time had just over 301,000.

Now, themed accounts with politically divisive content and lots of followers are considered suspicious. So the Russians appear to be working harder at hiding, using accounts that have fewer followers.

When Facebook took down some Instagram accounts that showed links to the Russian troll farm last year, more than half had fewer than 5,000 followers. One account that was removed, @progressive.voice, had just over 2,000 followers. The one with the most followers had about 20,000.


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