The Kremlin’s Puppet: Chapter 4
- April 28, 2017
- Christopher Bouzy
This is Putin’s secret weapon. A cyber army of paid trolls, automated bots, and hackers. Putin’s plan was to use his cyber army to spread pro-Trump propaganda while decimating his opponents with fake news and stolen data.
Putin used paid trolls to attack Trump’s opponents while bolstering Trump’s popularity. Paid trolls were effective at minimizing Trump’s self-inflicted scandals and portraying Trump as an acceptable alternative to the other candidates.
Thousands of automated software programs known as bots retweeted Trump’s disinformation, while simultaneously retweeting negative tweets about his opponents based on specific keywords and metadata. Bot tweets were loaded with targeted hashtags to make cleverly tailored propaganda trend.
Russian trolls and bots were extremely effective at spreading fake news on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Voters had a difficult time distinguishing fake news from legitimate news stories.
Putin used hackers to cultivate private and embarrassing data from both Democrats and Republicans. Putin leaked the private material to hurt one candidate or political party, while keeping the opposing candidates or party fearful that their sensitive data would also be leaked to the public.
Putin also used hackers to steal voter registration data in key states. Putin used the stolen data to micro-target voters with specifically tailored propaganda. Putin’s cyber army was capable of changing the opinion of the electorate vulnerable to misinformation while demoralizing certain pockets of voters to suppress turnout in both the Republican primaries and general election.
Putin’s cyber army was able to offset Trump’s vulgarity and lack of sophistication with a relentless online propaganda campaign. No matter what Trump did, Putin’s cyber army kept Trump popular with the electorate.