- Nearly 1,000 Russian trolls were banned from Reddit after it was discovered they were working for the same Putin-funded company that was accused of election meddling on Facebook.
- Reddit decided to leave the accounts and their content online for “a period of time,” to give Redditors a chance to look through the posts themselves.
- Among the 944 accounts, there is lots of fake news, political memes, and Hillary Clinton bashing, but there are also quite a few surprises.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced Tuesday that the forum-based site had identified and banned nearly 1,000 accounts linked to a Putin-funded Russian troll farm that was indicted by a grand jury for interfering in the 2016 US election in favour of Donald Trump, according to the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Reddit has chosen to give users a chance to see the Russian-affiliated content for themselves, by providing a link to a full list of the suspicious accounts, including their full content history. The accounts will be fully removed from Reddit “after a period of time,” according to Huffman.
Business Insider looked through many of the banned accounts’ content and found lots of what you’d expect from a politically-motivated Russian troll, along with lots of surprises.
It’s important to note that among the breadth of content there were countless racist, sexist, and otherwise too offensive memes, images and other posts to publish here, but we’ve compiled a few highlights that we think are representative of the batch as a whole.
Heads up: We’ve done our best not to include any disturbing or inflammatory posts (there were many), but some of the following aren’t particularly family-friendly.
Take a look:
These examples are taken from the top 20 most influential accounts, meaning the 20 with the most Reddit “karma” points.
You can click through any of these images to see the original posts on the subreddit in which they originally appeared–at least, until Reddit eventually takes them all off the site.
As expected, unflattering depictions of Hillary Clinton were common on many of the banned accounts, including this one posted to a controversial subreddit called “The Donald.”
Popular memes like this one were incorporated into many of the political sentiments.
A few celebrities made appearances in a lot of the troll-linked posts. This one decided to take aim at comedian and actress Amy Schumer.
Surprisingly, many of the troll accounts would occasionally post memes, news articles, images, or jokes that seemed to appeal to a more left-leaning audience, like this one. This is a common practice for state-sanctioned accounts attempting to seem more realistic, and hopefully slip through detection algorithms.
This particular user posted regularly about the advocacy group Black Lives Matter — mostly in a negative light — along with other less specifically-focused jokes like this one, meant to stir up conflict around American racial inequality.
Despite the unnerving nature of simply knowing these accounts were run by Russian trolls, some of the posts displayed genuine creativity and humour.
The current tension around American gun laws was also a common subject matter.
And many posts made appeals to common American conspiracy theories.
Because the posts about highly controversial political topics don’t typically get many comments or likes, there were lots of posts like this one, that are designed to be relatable (and likable) in the effort to make the account look authentic and generate karma. This troll decided to pose as an “American University Grad.” The broken English somewhat cracks the illusion.
After all, who on the Internet wouldn’t upvote a photo of a cute puppy…
…or SNL and Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Andy Samberg?
As expected, there were also several accounts solely dedicated to sharing “news” articles — many concerning rumours of Russian hacking — from sites with varying levels of journalistic authority, including a few well-known fake news generators like YourNewsWire.com.
You can learn more about the suspicious accounts banned by Reddit here.
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