The resulting chaos is consistent with longstanding Russian interests to sow discord in the United States and to chip away at the country’s democratic foundations and standing on the world stage. If the 2016 election raised concerns about foreign interference in U.S. politics, the 2020 contest shows how Americans themselves, and their leaders, can be a powerful source of disinformation without other governments even needing to do the work.

“For quite a while at this point, the Kremlin has been able to essentially just use and amplify the content, the false and misleading and sensational, politically divisive content generated by political officials and American themselves” rather than create their own narratives and content, said former CIA officer Cindy Otis, vice president for analysis at the Alethea Group, which tracks disinformation…

Stamos said that while there were some small indications of foreign interference on social media, it amounted to “nothing that has been all that interesting” compared with the flood of claims shared by Americans themselves.