After 6 years, The Washington Post finally admits Russian trolls didn't actually influence the 2016 election
· Jan 9, 2023 ·

Some would say better late than never, but I think the damage has already been done.

Wait, so you're telling me that memes your aunt shared on Facebook saying to vote for Trump or the devil wins DIDN'T swing the election to Trump?

Russian influence operations on Twitter in the 2016 presidential election reached relatively few users, most of whom were highly partisan Republicans, and the Russian accounts had no measurable impact in changing minds or influencing voter behavior, according to a study out this morning.

The study, which the New York University Center for Social Media and Politics helmed, explores the limits of what Russian disinformation and misinformation was able to achieve on one major social media platform in the 2016 elections.

Yeah, basically the only people who saw and shared these memes were the die-hard MAGA people who were going to vote for Trump no matter what.

As anyone with two brain cells to rub together could have surmised.

The memes were totally boomer "humor" and probably didn't influence a single person.

"My personal sense coming out of this is that this got way overhyped," Josh Tucker, one of the report's authors who is also the co-director of the New York University center, told me about the meaningfulness of the Russian tweets.

"Now we're looking back at data and we can see how concentrated this was in one small portion of the population, and how the fact that people who were being exposed to these were really, really likely to vote for Trump," Tucker said. "And then we have this data to show we can't find any relationship between being exposed to these tweets and people's change in attitudes."

The details of these "viral" memes, which didn't have the reach of even a semi-popular meme shared on your average conservative page, show that they didn't have any impact on the election.

Key findings of the report:

  • Only 1 percent of Twitter users accounted for 70 percent of the exposure to accounts that Twitter identified as Russian troll accounts.
  • Highly partisan Republicans were exposed to nine times more posts than non-Republicans.
  • Content from the news media and U.S. politicians dwarfed the amount of Russian influence content the electorate was exposed to during the 2016 race.
  • There was no measurable impact on "political attitudes, polarization, and vote preferences and behavior" from the Russian accounts and posts.

These memes didn't get anywhere near the reach of your average news site. It was completely ineffective.

Yet I'm old enough to remember the LITERAL YEARS I had to hear about Russian trolls who stole the election for Trump.

This was the excuse the US Government used to get its grubby little fingers all over social media censorship. And it was completely based on a lie.

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