Tech takeaways from the Mueller report

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Here’s what you need to know about Attorney General Barr’s summary of the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 — and what it said about social media:

  • Russian trolls were on their own: “The Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the [Internet Research Agency (IRA)] in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities,” AG Barr wrote to congressional leaders in a letter. In an indictment unveiled in 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team detailed how the IRA Russian troll farm sought to stoke divisions in the US through various disinformation campaigns on social media.
  • One theory debunked, one conclusion reaffirmed: Mueller’s apparent findings debunk suggestions floated by some that the targeted nature of the IRA’s efforts signaled possible US help. But Barr’s letter did reaffirm one key finding: that the IRA’s campaign “to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord” was one of “two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election,” alongside the hacking of Democratic officials.

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