Russian trolls used Twitter to challenge the validity of the U.S. presidential election months before it took place, according to new NBC News analysis.
In apparent expectation of a Trump loss, the trolls began sowing seeds of doubt to make voters question a win by Hillary Clinton. But when Donald Trump’s victory began rolling in, they changed their tune and began tweeting about the Trump success.
Kremlin propaganda tweets using the “VoterFraud” hashtag first appeared in August 2016 and slowly ramped up to an Election Day blitz, according to the NBC News analysis of some 36,000 archived tweets from a single anonymous source with knowledge of social media data….
The hashtag was promoted by other high-impact impostor accounts, including the popular @Pamela_Moore13 — an account with over 70,000 followers, whose profile showed a nearly naked masked woman holding an American flag. “Moore” identified herself as a “Pro-God” conservative from Texas who was “Anti-Racism.”
The “Moore” account was retweeted at other points in the campaign by political figures in the Trump orbit, including Donald Trump Jr.; the son of Michael Flynn, Trump’s fired national security adviser; and Trump associate and political consultant Roger Stone.
The account was also retweeted by conservative media commentators like Fox News host Sean Hannity, Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, author Ann Coulter and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.