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January 09, 2023

Shock: NYU Study Finds Russian Trolls Had Little to No Impact on Trump's 2016 Election

Where do we go to get our last six years back?

From the Washington Post:

A study finds minimal impact from Russian influence operations on Twitter in the Trump-Clinton presidential race

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.


"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."

(Tucker is an editor of The Monkey Cage, a blog that partnered with The Post.)

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

Oh, it doesn't say there was zero influence, so let's assume we're still Basically Right.

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

Where Russian-affiliated companies spent a staggering One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars on ads.

Nor does it address Russian hack-and-leak operations.

Like the Hunter Biden laptop.

Whoops.

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.

Sure, sure.

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

We're witnessing one right now, from Ukraine.

Let's dive into the numbers.

The results

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.

The study, published this morning in Nature Communications -- an offshoot of the science journal Nature magazine -- is years in the making. That's due to the amount of time needed to acquire data from Twitter, conduct the study, carry out surveys and run it through the peer review process, Tucker said.

The article keeps bringing up "hack-and-leak operations."

Let's be clear about what happened there: Hillary Clinton and the DNC rigged the primary against Bernie Sanders, and leakers exposed this fact.

That wasn't a lie. That wasn't "Russian Disinformation." That really happened.

The leakers just revealed the truth which Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and her Media Mafia wished to conceal.

Another report from Columbia University relied on data from online betting markets to suggest that Russian trolls swung the 2016 election to Trump. Odds favored Democrats during Russian holidays when the nation's trolls were less likely to be active.

Look how desperate the Washington Post is to counter this study. Now we're down to betting markets, based on faulty polling, being wrong.

Given the small margins of victory in some states for Trump, could even a small number of people who changed their attitudes as a result of Russian influence operations online have swayed the vote? The sample size of the Twitter study suggests not, but "we'll never really know," Tucker said. "We cannot reject out of hand that there wasn't some incredibly unlikely confluence of things here that happened in this regard."

"We'll never really know" is the leftwing partisan's Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt. They did the same thing with the Mueller Report.

One of the potential impacts was indirect, Tucker said: It opened the door for people to doubt that President Biden defeated Trump in 2020.

"That campaign may have been more successful for reasons that it didn't set out to be successful, but by getting caught and having all this discussion," he said.

Um, you mean after the left claimed that the election was fraudulently stolen by the Russians for Donald Trump, that opened the door for the right to make similar claims?

Oh well!



Olivier Knox
@OKnox
new study finds Russian trolls on Twitter had little influence on voters in Trump's 2016 election victory.
@timstarks

@aaronjschaffer

David Reaboi, Late Republic Nonsense @davereaboi

NYU study in 2023 says what any sane person knew since 2017. There will not be a similar study on media and Democrat lies from 2017-2020 about "Russia hacking/stealing the election," however.

Hi everyone. Great to be back.

I want to publicly thank all the cobloggers -- I'll drop them an email too -- for covering me during my time off.

I did nothing, and nothing was everything I thought it could be.

Hope you're all well!


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posted by Ace at 12:02 PM

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