NEW YORK – A new report suggests a “sophisticated” Russian propaganda campaign helped flood social media with fake news stories leading up to the presidential election.
The Washington Post, citing a yet-to-be published report from independent researchers, said the goal was to punish Hillary Clinton, help Donald Trump, and undermine faith in American democracy.
The report comes from a nonpartisan group of researchers called PropOrNot. The group describes itself as “concerned American citizens” with expertise in computer science, national security and public policy. The researchers say they traced the origins of posts and mapped the connections among accounts that delivered similar messages.
The findings show just how effective the bogus reports and propaganda were, according to the report. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed 213 million times.
While it’s not clear whether fake news and propaganda helped sway the election in Trump’s favor, millions of Americans get their news from what’s shared on Facebook and other social media. In recent months, fake and misleading stories have proliferated, even as Facebook has insisted that they make up a tiny fraction of the overall stuff users share on the site
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