The Surprising Nuance Behind the Russian Troll Strategy

We set out to study internet discourse around #BlackLivesMatter — instead, we were unintentionally learning about the Russian information operation to undermine democracy

Credit: dashk/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Framing can be a powerful political tool.

“Shared Audience” Network Graph of Accounts in Twitter Conversations about #BlackLivesMatter and Shooting Events in 2016. Courtesy of Kate Starbird/University of Washington.
Retweet Network Graph of Accounts in Twitter Conversations about #BlackLivesMatter and Shooting Events in 2016. Courtesy of Kate Starbird/University of Washington
Retweet Network Graph plus IRA Troll Accounts. Courtesy of Kate Starbird/University of Washington

That IRA accounts sent messages supporting #BlackLivesMatter does not mean that ending racial injustice in the United States aligns with Russia’s strategic goals or that #BlackLivesMatter is an arm of the Russian government.

Associate Professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at UW. Researcher of crisis informatics and online rumors. Aging athlete. Army brat.

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