They love white Russians
I’m not talking about the cocktail…
Today, Stop Online Violence Against Women released a report analyzing the 3,500 ads released by Congress that were bought by the Russian Internet Research Agency on Facebook. This report, using a brand new data visualization, reveals that the race-based focus of the Russian-purchased ads, which has been acknowledged in some reporting and previous studies, were in fact majority-focused on the themes of Black Identity and culture. The Black Identity ads were used in two-fold purpose, to engage in voter suppression of Black voters, while boosting voter turnout of White voters.
“When the ads were released to the public the initial analysis revealed racial division and discord, what wasn’t discovered were the tactics and the targets of these ads, says Shireen Mitchell, Founder of Stop Online Violence Against Women “This report not only puts the targets in perspective but includes a timeline of how long these activities were unnoticed before the 2016 election.”
The data visualization reveals linkages between Black Identity keywords and other topics. The overall positive messages for Black cultural identity on the platform lead to voter-suppression tactics of Black voters while the same messages, connected to other groups, were used to exacerbate racial tensions in order to motivate voters to get out the vote.
[…]Although many of the ads were documented through Facebook these targeted attacks weren’t only discovered after the election. Twitter, YouTube, Google, Tumblr, Instagram were all participants in the coordination of the overall voter suppression campaign that targeted Black identity.
“What’s striking is the degree to which the importance of the Black vote is understood and was specifically targeted by outside hostile entities in their attempt to sway election outcomes,” says Avis A. Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D., Author, How Exceptional Black Women Lead. “Clearly, Black votes matter. And the integrity of our voting power needs to be protected.”
“IRA content targeting black communities on Facebook showed a clear intent to depress the black vote by suggesting that black voters stay home,” says Renee DiResta, Director of Research, New Knowledge. Statements by tech executives in the Congressional hearings suggested that Russia focused on a wide range of targets; while that’s true, interest-based ad targeting on Facebook focused overwhelmingly on the Black community and Black American culture. This report highlights that disparity, and makes it clear how important it is for tech companies to be vigilant and proactive in engaging Black researchers going forward.”
African Americans voted strongly for Democrats so it didn’t have as much effect on them as the Russian government might have hoped. But conservtive white voters were obviously very susceptible to the message.
I’m reminded of this from a couple of years ago that sheds some light on this and why Trump voters are very po-Russia, even aside from its endering qualities like ant-LGBT laws, locking up the political opposition, legalizing domestic violence and other excellent policies. They are just their kind of people:
While Europe has embraced socialists and Muslims, among other groups, Russia appears a final redoubt of white pride. At least, this is how Russia has portrayed itself to, and is viewed by, many on the new American right—the angry horde, the white-nationalist base who wants their country back. There were glimmers of this in the ‘90s and the aughts, when angry, white men flew to Moscow, and then St. Petersburg and Kiev, and then Tomsk and Omsk and Vladivostok, in search of beautiful, Russian women to replace their feminist wives in America. (I wrote a story about these men, “From Russia with Pre-Nup,” for GQ.) What they loved about Russian women, I learned, was not just that they were gorgeous, but rather that they were submissive. They had their values straight. When these men talked about American women, they always sounded bitter. American women didn’t know how to please a man; they didn’t wear makeup; they didn’t cook; they let themselves go. These men came from Arkansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and the Central Valley of California, and they had fallen in love with Russia because it was full of pretty white girls who acted the way they thought girls should act.
Donald Trump’s choice of female partners reflects the yearnings and inclinations of these angry, white men—many of whom, one imagines, now comprise his base. Two of his three wives come from Slavic, ex-Communist countries. His shortest marriage was to an American. When Trump praises Putin, it’s probably not just because he wants to build a hotel in St. Petersburg or has an ex-campaign manager who allegedly made a bundle in Ukraine. It’s probably because Trump thinks, like many of his supporters may think, that the Russians get it.
By the way, according to this report, this effort to suppress the black vote and boost the white vote continues.