“This Got Way Overhyped”: 2016 Russian Twitter Trolls Were Dismal Failure: WaPo

Source: ZeroHedge.

How does reality work: Do truths emerge, or do lies fade away?

In this case the lie of Russian propaganda influence over the 2016 presidential election is all but stamped out. Maybe next we’ll get lucky and learn who delivered the trove of stolen DNC emails to Wikileaks.

22 thoughts on ““This Got Way Overhyped”: 2016 Russian Twitter Trolls Were Dismal Failure: WaPo

    1. Cry me a river.

      Here is a quote from the original study on which the story is based: “First, we find that exposure to posts from Russian foreign influence accounts was concentrated among a small group of users, with only 1% of users accounting for 70% of all exposures. Second, exposure to Russian foreign influence tweets was overshadowed by the amount of exposure to traditional news media and US political candidates. Third, respondents with the highest levels of exposure to posts from Russian foreign influence accounts were those arguably least likely to need influencing: those who identified themselves as highly partisan Republicans, who were already likely favorable to Donald Trump. Fourth, we did not detect any meaningful relationships between exposure to posts from Russian foreign influence accounts and changes in respondents’ attitudes on the issues, political polarization, or voting behavior. Each of these findings is not independently dispositive. Jointly, however, we find concordant evidence between exposure to Russian disinformation—which is both lower and more concentrated than one might expect to be impactful—and the absence of a relationship to changes in attitudes and voting behavior.”

      Like

      1. “Cry me a river”

        From the WAPO article that got ZeroHedge excited . . .

        “But the study doesn’t go so far as to say that Russia had no influence on people who voted for President Donald Trump.

        It doesn’t examine other social media, like the much-larger Facebook.

        Nor does it address Russian hack-and-leak operations. Another major study in 2018 by University of Pennsylvania communications professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson suggested those probably played a significant role in the 2016 race’s outcome.

        Lastly, it doesn’t suggest that foreign influence operations aren’t a threat at all.”

        Liked by 1 person

          1. RE: “So, the ZeroHedge story is deliberately minimizing Russian Trump efforts…”

            That’s bull. The story reports the findings presented in a peer reviewed paper. No one has misrepresented those findings, but maybe you just don’t like them.

            Like

      2. Trump won by getting a sliver of votes (I seem to recall 77,000, or about 5/100’s of 1 percent of the total vote) in 3 key states. States that Manafort provided polling and strategy information for Russian intelligence. The need for massive, national trolling was unnecessary. Our electoral system, love it or hate it, is much easier to manipulate than the national popular vote.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Oh, Russia tried to influence our elections alright. There’s no doubt about that. I’m not sure how you would measure their “success.” If you measure it by their successes in every other area, you’re probably right. It was a dismal failure.

    At any rate, the candidate they were campaigning for won the election… and turned out to be the most dismal failure to ever hold the office.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The point is, foreign agents TRIED to get Trump elected. Also, everyone who voted for Trump tried to get him elected.

        Did one vote do it? No.

        Did one Twittery TRY do it? No.

        But the voter was successful in that Trump was elected.

        Foreign agents who TRIED to get him elected were successful in that Trump was elected.

        On the other hand, the voter probably thought Trump would succeed in making America Great Again. In that respect, the voter was unsuccessful

        Foreign agents who tried to get Trump elected probably thought Trump would succeed in getting the United States out of NATO so they could march across Ukraine and the rest of Europe at will. In that respect, any foreign agent who tried to get Trump elected was unsuccessful.

        At this point in time, I don’t even understand why anyone would care whether “Russian Twitter Trolls Were A Dismal Failure.” Their tweeting objectives were realized. Their real goal was a dismal failure.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. RE: “Foreign agents who TRIED to get him elected were successful in that Trump was elected.”

        That’s illogical.

        RE: “At this point in time, I don’t even understand why anyone would care whether ‘Russian Twitter Trolls Were A Dismal Failure.'”

        The reason I care is simple enough. Posters in this Forum persist in complaining that Russia influenced the 2016 election. Now we have a factual or empirical basis for saying that Russian interference was NOT influential.

        To wit (from the study): “Jointly, however, we find concordant evidence between exposure to Russian disinformation—which is both lower and more concentrated than one might expect to be impactful—and the absence of a relationship to changes in attitudes and voting behavior.”

        Like

        1. “Now we have a factual or empirical basis for saying that Russian interference was NOT influential.”

          The study was ONLY about the influence of Twitter.

          “It doesn’t examine other social media, like the much-larger Facebook.
          Nor does it address Russian hack-and-leak operations. Another major study in 2018 by University of Pennsylvania communications professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson suggested those probably played a significant role in the 2016 race’s outcome.
          Lastly, it doesn’t suggest that foreign influence operations aren’t a threat at all.” From your source’s references.

          “So it’s fair to say that the 2016 presidential election was decided by about 77,000 votes out of than 136 million ballots cast. According to the final tallies, Trump won Pennsylvania by 0.7 percentage points (44,292 votes), Wisconsin by 0.7 points (22,748 votes), Michigan by 0.2 points (10,704 votes).”

          That is 77K votes out of approximately 13+ million votes. And these were states that Obama carried handily.

          https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/the-election-came-down-to-77-744-votes-in-pennsylvania-wisconsin-and-michigan-updated

          So maybe Twitter didn’t show much influence, but it did not take much either. Add in the other social media, particularly the elephant in the room, FaceBook, and you have a much broader range and probably impact.

          Sort of like the difference between a person peeing in a river and a wastewater treatment plant dumping effluent in the same body of water.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. “Now we have a factual or empirical basis for saying that Russian interference was NOT influential.”

          No, we have some basis for saying that the TWITTER portion of their campaign on behalf of Trump was not very influential. But, as WAPO pointed out, this was only a part of what they were up to on his behalf.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Well, at least you are now admitting that the Russians DID try to influence the election for Trump. That’s a baby step in the direction of truth.

          As to how influential they were, it doesn’t really matter. The Russians got what they wanted. It can be debated as to whose fault it was Trump won. It can not be debated as to whether or not the Russians wanted Trump to win.

          Personally, I believe Franklin Graham and the KKK had as much influence as the Russians. But at this point in time, I don’t hear any Americans claiming credit for putting that dysfunctional narcissist into office. The Russians may brag that they put him into office because of all the damage he did, but in a few years time he’ll be like Nixon… when asked, nobody will admit they voted for him.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “Just another pro-Putin sham site.”

      You really need to learn that criticizing sources is a fool’s errand, unless you can explain the problem you see. In this case, just the title of the post should have informed you that Zerohedge is reporting on a story The Washington Post broke. More important, the study that WAPO reported on was published by a journal associated with Nature, one of the most prestigious scientific publishers on Earth.

      Like

      1. “You really need to learn that criticizing sources is a fool’s errand,”

        You first. You criticize sites such as The Hill, The Bulwark and Salon every time one of those sites is used. Your criticism usually ends up being nothing more than disagreeing. So like I said , YOU FIRST.

        I have listed the issues I have with ZH enough times, I should not need to repeat them here. The big one being the use of a Fight Club character as a pseudonym instead of putting ones self out there. Embarrassment? Shame? Come clean as to who Durden really is. Just like the elusive Re on this forum.

        The study is only mentions TWITTER. There is LIMITED mention of Facebook. And wat is there invalidates the data of the study. Stating that only $100K was spent on FB by bots is meaningless. I can get on FB and spread whatever information I want.

        “Plus, there were some fundamental differences with observing how people absorbed information on Twitter versus Facebook, Tucker said. “One of the super interesting things we were able to do in this paper is show that lots of what people were exposed to here was not because they were following the accounts of these Russian trolls, but because they follow people who retweeted tweets that came from these Russian trolls, and that’s easier on Twitter, where almost everything is open,” Tucker said. -WaPo

        Except that we know Russian influence campaigns on Facebook in 2016 totaled roughly $100,000.”

        So the guys running the troll farms got paid $100K. This has nothing to do with investment; it has to do with spreading misinformation.

        “associated with Nature, one of the most prestigious scientific publishers on Earth.”

        Associated with Nature? Scientific America got excoriated on this forum for posting an OPINION piece. And I hardly ever hear a scientist use the phrase “One of the super interesting things we were able to do”. But when you have 15 year olds doing research, I suppose you will hear that.

        I recall seeing a story when a lady was shown that the FB site she was forwarding MISINORMATION from was a Russian Bot., She refused to believe it and continued spreading the fertilizer. Facebook seemed to have more influence that Twitter.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ” . . . criticizing sources is a fool’s errand”

        No, it is not. Understanding the motivations of a “source” is a critical thinking skill. ZeroHedge is not a reliable source. They have an agenda that trumps objectivity. In this case, they try to debunk WAPO’s point that Facebook is far more significant but was not studied by saying …

        “Except that we know Russian influence campaigns on Facebook in 2016 totaled roughly $100,000.
        So yeah, all of that was a lie.”

        Actually, that figure is an estimate of the illegal paid Facebook advertising on Trump’s behalf. It does NOT include the notorious troll farms and bots that flooded Facebook with Trump support. So, lying liars are gonna lie. ZeroHedge is such a liar. Trusting them is what fools do. No doubting them.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. RE: “Understanding the motivations of a “source” is a critical thinking skill.”

        Maybe for children. Being able to show how a source is not credible is what adults do.

        RE: “ZeroHedge is not a reliable source.”

        Neither you nor Mr. Green have demonstrated that. In this case ZeroHedge linked to the WAPO source article and didn’t misrepresent any data points WAPO reported. That ZeroHedge added some spin of its own is thoroughly reasonable.

        Like

        1. “Maybe for children.”

          Speaking of children, could your critical thinking skills be more childlike?

          It is the widespread lack of this basic skill – assessing the credibility of a “source” – that allows Trumpism and all of its conspiracy theory nonsense to survive. No wonder the GOP hates educated people!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. “That ZeroHedge added some spin of its own is thoroughly reasonable.”

          Spin? More like fertilizer to the mix. And only “reasonable” to those who believe that Trump can do NO wrong and the sun rises and sets in his size 56 white tennis shorts.

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s