Facebook said the network bears the hallmark of the same Kremlin-backed group that interfered in the 2016 election by sowing social discord, seeking to boost Trump and attacking Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The new disinformation campaign appears to follow the same playbook.
This time, a coordinated group of Russian accounts that appears to show some links to the Internet Research Agency largely took to Facebook’s photo-sharing app, Instagram, to post content this year about U.S. politics and memes targeting Democratic presidential contenders.
The operation demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the schisms within the Democratic Party as it labors to choose a nominee to face Trump in 2020. One Russian account, which portrayed itself as a black voter in Michigan, used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag to hammer Biden for gaffes about racial issues. Some of the accounts boosted one of his rivals on the left, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).