The article details an attempt to gather information about the Internet Research [Agency] organization in St Petersburg, Russia, described as a professional propaganda operation run by an oligarch. This article is of interest in its description of a propaganda operation. The article was published in June 2015, well before the U.S. media and political interest in social media propaganda.
I friended as many of the trolls on Facebook as I could and began to observe their ways. Most of the content they shared was drawn from a network of other pages that, like Ass’s, were clearly meant to produce entertaining and shareable social-media content. ….. The posts churned out every day by this network of pages were commented on and shared by the same group of trolls, a virtual Potemkin village of disaffected Americans.
The quoted section illustrates how social media acts a friction-less platform for the distribution of propaganda. “Like”, “Share” and “Comment” are all, by default the same – they all end up sharing a post to more people.
IRA is not the only social media propaganda operation. Unfortunately, there are many more and the others are being ignored.
An even earlier story appeared in 2013 describing the trolling operation of the IRA.