Home 2017 Races Russian Bots Hot & Heavy in Virginia Election

Russian Bots Hot & Heavy in Virginia Election


A simple question:

Is Putin repeating #TrumpRussia in Virginia?

Sadly, the answer appears to be YES! as Bots stir racial strife in Virginia.

Even as internet firms had lawyers testifying on the Hill and Facebook’s Zuckerberg was telling investors about all the great security measures being put in place, the reality for Virginia: Russian and East European bots are seeking to stoke up the Tea-Party(-ites) and rabid GOPers (to boost the vote for Ralph Gillespie and the other GOP disasters) while stoking discord among traditional Democratic groups to try to suppress Ralph Northam’s vote.

The Latino Victory Fund ad — a very aggressive ad depicting fears of immigrant and minority children in the face of (neo)Nazis marching in Virginia streets and a GOP election campaign that is barely a fig-leaf beyond outright racist with a nightmare scene of a black, Gillespie-bumper sticker wearing pick-up attempting to run over children — touched some nerves (and the media went right along with the GOP outrage game) and got pulled with the terrorist attack in New York City.

The “outrage” continued post-ad pulling, with targets both on the right and left. The telling item about the social media outrage:

…reaction has been amplified on Twitter by automated accounts. Out of the 15 accounts tweeting most frequently about the Latino Victory Fund ad, 13 belong to fully or partially automated bots,

This shouldn’t surprise us. Considering their success in 2016 getting #PutinsPuppet into the Oval, why would the Russians hold back in 2017?

…more than 400 suspicious accounts have followed Northam’s campaign Twitter account in recent days, with many of them tweeting mostly in Turkish or eastern European languages.

This reporting echoes and documents what I’ve been hearing from people — that they are seeing odd dumping into their Facebook and other accounts promoting material seeking to undermine support for Northam.

As Democrats need to focus on #GOTV, the bots are out in force seeking to create discord and distraction as tools to suppress the vote.

Virginians — and those across the rest of the country — can’t let this stand unanswered.

RELATED:  Virginia GOP caught using fake account, Russian-style tactics


The clear warning to all of us. When being fed, whether on Twitter or Facebook or otherwise, we need to ask ourselves this question: Is someone you know a Russian agent?

  • Brendan

    Also saw they were targeting dems w/ the Northam sanctuary vid, they were using a crappy fb page w/ no disclosure or about section to do it. Win or lose, Ed’s never going to regain his dignity after this campaign.

    • woodrowfan

      Gillespie: No Chin, No Brain, No Backbone, No Honesty, and now, No Dignity…

      • dave schutz

        Is the ‘Woodrow’ of whom you are a fan Woodrow Wilson? This man resegregated the civil service and told a group of black leaders that segregation was a service to them. Here’s a nice precis of his activities: http://theconversation.com/how-the-black-middle-class-was-attacked-by-woodrow-wilsons-administration-52200. His record on lynching is appalling – Christian Science Monitor has “Cooper, in his biography, puts it this way: “Violence, lynching and virulent racism … grieved him.” But when it came to lynching, he “deplored the passion, disorder, and sullied international image of white Americans rather than injury, horror and death of black Americans.””

        He was born in 1858, came of age during Reconstruction when there was a national conversation about African-American place in national life, he had a real choice and he chose the wrong side. It sends a very odd message to put his name in your handle, if indeed that’s the Woodrow you are honoring.

        • woodrowfan

          I’m a professional historian and my specialty is the early 20th century. The story of why I picked my userid is a long one, too long for here, but I will note that I also admire Washington and Jefferson, but because they contributed a great deal to liberty despite their being slave owners and Jefferson’s longterm sexual abuse of Sally Hemings. I think Wilson’s record has some huge bad marks on race, but that his overall record was a very positive one for liberty.

          FWIW, his record on lynching is no better and no worse than Teddy’s or Taft’s. He was a racist, but thought the Klan was a bunch of thugs, did not insist on segregating the federal government when the cabinet secretary in question did not want it (which unfortunately was a small minority) and no, he did not show “Birth of a Nation” in the White House to “honor” it. The big showing was at the National Press Club the next night for Congress and the Supreme Court. It was shown at the WH because the household was in mourning and could not attend the theater. It wasn’t even the first movie shown at the White House and he never praised it. (the quotes from his books in BoN left out the key one where he said the KKK was too violent and punished the innocent. Weak sauce indeed, but it was at the time when other southern historians were writing books making the Klan heroes.) He was also born in 1856, not 1858.

          He was OTOH the most pro-labor president the US had until FDR, appointed the first Catholic and Jewish faculty at Princeton, the first Jewish member of the Supreme Court, was a late but then active supporter of woman’s suffrage (his pushing got it through the Senate), and the League of Nations mandate system established in international law for the first time that colonies were intended to be set free and that the colonizing power was answerable to other nations if they did not prepare their colonies for independence.

          Yes, he was a racist and white supremacist. His administration gutted DC’s African-American middle class. And his record on civil liberties in WWI was awful. He was, however, well within the mainstream of his time. His statement denouncing lynchings was indistinguishable from Roosevelt’s. That’s not to say his record was not very bad, but that the political mainstream was even more awful. Hell, he was pressured by southern Democrats to be MORE segregationist and by republicans like Roosevelt to crack down even more on internal dissent.

          Before you make a snide remark about using username instead of my real name, I have reasons to do so that include my job and my personal safely. I would ask that you respect that. On blogs where I do comment regularly I always send an email to the blog owner to introduce myself so I am known to them. Lowell knows who I am for example.

  • Quizzical

    The continuing Russian interference is logical, and I assume it extends to hacking networks and email accounts as well. To make sure that they have these capabilities when they really need them, the Russians will continually exercise and improve them. Nothing else makes any sense. Would you set up a network of trolls, train them in the nuances of American slang and regional culture, and then just shut it down? No, that would be a complete waste. If your intelligence services had penetrated the computer networks of all the major political parties, would you shut that down and allow your victims a breathing spell to sanitize their computer systems? Hell no.

    We are not talking about top secret espionage here, though we know that is going on too. Here we are talking about overt-but-deniable espionage and disinformation campaigns, and the capabilities they have developed are of the use it or lose it variety.