Russia Social Media Manipulation Veterans

vva.org

Vets say Russian trolls are targeting them, and Trump is ignoring their concerns

One organization has reportedly been sounding the alarm.

Jan 7, 2020, 3:32 pm*

Tech

 

Andrew Wyrich

President Donald Trump’s administration has not been receptive to reports from a veteran organization that says Russia trolls have been targeting vets on social media, according to a new report.

The Washington Post reports that Vietnam Veterans of America warned the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs Departments last year that manipulation campaigns could sow discord among their communities. They have have been “brushed off” from those departments, according to the report.

Last month Vietnam Veterans of America also asked for the president’s help in a letter after the various departments had not responded to evidence of “fraudulent activities ranging from identity theft to election interference,” the Post reports.

Vietnam Veterans of America produced a report earlier this year that found that there was a “documented persistent, pervasive, and coordinated online targeting of American service members, veterans, and their families by foreign entities who seek to disrupt American democracy.”

According to the VVA’s report, some of the ads and posts used their own logo and the logos of other chartered veteran organizations. The posts “then exploit the reputations of these established and legitimate veterans organizations to spread false, politically divisive, and hateful content while peddling counterfeit merchandise, both creating income for these criminal organizations and introducing inflammatory political content into the physical world from an online environment.”

Some of the ads aimed at veterans came from the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russia troll farm that was cited by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as one of the engines that sowed discord among Americans online during the 2016 election, the Post reported.

Other instances have been to interfere in the 2020 election, according to the report, with admins from Macedonia and the United Kingdom controlling a “Vets for Trump” page that posts pro-Trump and anti-Democrat memes and messages. It also supports Russia and has been critical of Mueller and the FBI, according to the report.

You can read all of the Washington Post report here.

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*First Published: Jan 7, 2020, 3:27 pm