The recent reports on Russian influence in the 2016 election prepared for the Senate have been full of distressing surprises. Among these is that the Moscow Trolls targeted African-Americans in an attempt to discourage them from voting.
The New York Times, in Russian 2016 Influence Operation Targeted African-Americans on Social Media, notes that “The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of activity on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its posts on Facebook, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee.”
How successful were the Russians? We may never know for certain. But it is true that African-American turn-out at the polls was decidedly lower than expected.
The question we need to face is what do about Russian interference in future? Given that Trump would not be in the White House without it, one wonders if, just maybe, rather serious measures ought to be taken. Say, perhaps, a small ebola outbreak at the St. Petersburg company responsible for the trolling, the Internet Research Agency, which just happens to be, owned by a Putin ally, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin.