Ben Collins and Joseph Cox at The Daily Beast:Rob Tornoe at the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Those same users who followed @Jenn_Abrams for her perfect Kim Kardashian jokes would be blasted with her shoddily punctuated ideas on slavery and segregation just one month later.
“To those people, who hate the Confederate flag. Did you know that the flag and the war wasn’t about slavery, it was all about money,” Abrams’ account tweeted in April of last year.
The tweet went viral, earning heaps of ridicule from journalists, historians, and celebrities alike, then calls for support from far-right users coming to her defense.
That was the plan all along.
Congressional investigators working with social-media companies have since confirmed that Abrams wasn’t who she said she was.
Her account was the creation of employees at the Internet Research Agency, or the Russian government-funded “troll farm,” in St. Petersburg.
Jenna Abrams, the freewheeling American blogger who believed in a return to segregation and said that many of America’s problems stemmed from PC culture run amok, did not exist.
But Abrams got very real attention from almost any national news outlet you can think of, according to a Daily Beast analysis of her online footprint.
Abrams, who at one point boasted nearly 70,000 Twitter followers, was featured in articles written by Bustle, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, several local Fox affiliates, InfoWars, BET, Yahoo Sports, Sky News, IJR, Breitbart, The Washington Post, Mashable,New York Daily News, Quartz, Dallas News, France24, HuffPost, The Daily Caller, The Telegraph, CNN, the BBC, Gizmodo, The Independent, The Daily Dot, The Observer, Business Insider, The National Post, Refinery29, The Times of India, BuzzFeed, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, and, of course, Russia Today and Sputnik.
Pamela Moore, another popular online personality during the 2016 election who tweeted using the handle @Pamela_Moore13. was also created in the same Russian troll factory with the same basic mission — to sow division and heighten racial tension among Americans.
Unlike the Abrams account, which went out of its way to say it wasn’t pro-Trump, nearly all of Moore’s tweets leading up to the election appear to have crafted to support Trump’s campaign. Among the account’s most widely shared posts leading up to the election were tweets repeating lies and conspiracy theories about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and pushing themes of Trump’s campaign, including this anti-refugee post that was shared more than 4,700 times.
Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn followed both accounts. His son, Michael Flynn Jr., shared a tweet from the Abrams account just days before the election.
Flynn wasn’t alone: Donald Trump Jr., Kellyanne Conway and Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign digital director, all retweeted fake Russian Twitter accounts in the month before the election. Vice President Mike Pence followed five different accounts tied to the Internet Research Agency, according to the Daily Beast.