In June 2014, four members of the department lied to the U.S. State Department, claiming to be "friends who met at a party." Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and Michael Flynn Jr. "The Office identified dozens of U.S. rallies organized by the IRA," the report says. Hawley addresses future of the GOP after Election Day, Why it's now cool to eat 'unpopular fish'. Thousands of Americans attended a march last November organized by a Russian group that used social media to interfere in the 2016 election. BlackMatters had organized other protests, but none revealed so far reached the level of support that the Nov. 12 protest did — in many cases, the organization’s events fizzled out and didn’t come to fruition. The IRA then sent a large number of direct messages to followers of its social media account asking them to attend the event. This is great!”. We want to hear from you. “I thought it was a knockoff of Black Lives Matter,” one organizer who unwittingly worked with the group told BuzzFeed, but changed his mind after looking at the group’s website, which he thought “looked legit.”. Internet Research Agency operatives didn’t mind looking weird in their quest to stoke tensions in America’s deeply polarized political climate. “Join us in the streets! In most cases, the IRA account operator would tell the U.S. person that they personally could not attend the event because of some preexisting conflict or because they were somewhere else in the United States. The group reportedly recruited Americans who were unaware of its links to Russian actors to help its mobilizing efforts and organize these events. Facebook has since deleted those 470 accounts. By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. But only two of the women who applied were granted visas, which allowed them to travel to America to conduct intelligence gathering, such as taking photographs that could then be later used in social media posts. A second group was charged with honing and launching mass spearphishing operations, meant to identify key targets within Clinton's campaign and craft believable emails persuading them to click and, therefore, install the custom malware. Ignoring the Significance of the Sheep’s Ears, How “Stop the Steal” Exploded on Facebook and Twitter, What Twitter Did After Trump Said Democrats Are Trying to “STEAL” the Election, Think Before You Share That Outrageous Election Day Video. As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan's Union Square. Attorney General nominee William Barr arrives for a meeting with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on January 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. A third, called @march_for_trump, organized a series of rallies in support of Trump across the U.S. All Rights Reserved. The final Mueller report still leaves a lot of questions unanswered about the scale of the impact of the Russian trolls’ attempts to make our elections awful.

The BlackMatters organizing group was connected to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll farm” with ties to the Kremlin, according to a recent investigation by the Russian Magazine RBC. The Guardian at the time wrote that thousands of people actually showed up with protest signs in tow, though many of those protesters likely heard about the demonstration through other channels also promoting the rally.