Biden State Department Offers $10 Million Reward For Info On Russian Internet Trolls

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The State Department announced a reward of up to $10 million for information relating to the “identification or location” of a group of Russian internet trolls, who the department claims interfered with U.S. elections.

The State Department is particularly interested in information relating to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian company that the State Department claims “engaged in political and electoral interference operations,” in a Thursday media note. The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted the IRA in 2018, for allegedly influencing federal elections, alongside the associated Concord Management and several Russian individuals, who the DOJ alleges funded the IRA.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a 2019 study that questioned the efficacy of IRA activity, claiming that interaction with IRA accounts did not substantially alter the political behavior of monitored accounts over a one-month period.

“[T]hese findings suggest that Russian trolls might have failed to sow discord because they mostly interacted with those who were already highly polarized,” the study states.

The charges against Concord were dropped by the Justice Department in 2020, during one of the few trials associated with the indictment, The New York Times reported. The DOJ alleged that Concord was using the trial to learn how the DOJ investigated foreign misinformation networks, and recommended the charges be dropped in the interest of national security.

The IRA has also been involved in attempts to spread misinformation about the Russo-Ukraine war, according to ProPublica. Several accounts associated with the IRA, took video of a Vienna climate protest, in which protestors covered themselves in body bags but were still visibly alive, and claimed that the video showed Ukrainians faking civilian casualties.

The IRA was responsible for a number of accounts that were extraordinarily popular, and had a particular focus on Instagram, where the IRA used several accounts targeted at black Americans to “exacerbate divisions and stoke resentment” between cultural groups, according to Wired.

Some posts by the IRA on Facebook and Instagram claimed that they were made by Americans, specifically mocking the idea that they were posted by Russians, Wired reports.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Daily Caller News Foundation
Daily Caller News Foundation
The Daily Caller News Foundation is a guest author for NRN. They are a non-profit providing original investigative reporting from a team of professional reporters that operates for the public benefit.

Kelly Offield is an investigative journalist and columnist for NRN, specializing on Big Tech's control of information. Click the red bell on the bottom left to turn on NRN's website notifications and watch Kelly Offield's author page to follow the developments of his column.