WASHINGTON — It’s been 21 months since the 2016 election, when Russian interference across social media platforms sought to deepen the wedge between U.S. citizens at different ends of the political spectrum. But the social media meddling did not end there. At a Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing on Wednesday, experts in internet research and social media activity testified on the rise in targeted activity ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
The Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Russian company responsible for hiring posters, or “trolls,” to share pro-Kremlin propaganda through fake accounts on social media, was at the center of the hearing. According to Renee DiResta, Director of Research at New Knowledge, the IRA’s operation “began around 2013, continued throughout the 2016 election, and even increased on some platforms such as Instagram and Twitter in 2017.”