In Defying the Odds, we discuss social media, fake news, and Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign.
A secret effort to influence the 2017 Senate election in Alabama used tactics inspired by Russian disinformation teams, including the creation of fake accounts to deliver misleading messages on Facebook to hundreds of thousands of voters to help elect Democrat Doug Jones in the deeply red state, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.
What is known about Project Birmingham comes mainly from the 12-page document labeled “Project Birmingham Debrief,” which was obtained by The Post. It is dated Dec. 15, 2017, three days after the Alabama vote.
The document describes the effort as “a digital messaging operation to influence the outcome of the AL senate race” by targeting 650,000 likely voters with messages on social media platforms such as Facebook, while obscuring the fact that the messages were coming from an effort backing Jones. Jones has said he had no knowledge of Project Birmingham and has called for a federal investigation.
The goal of the effort was to “radicalize Democrats, suppress unpersuadable Republicans (“hard Rs”) and faction moderate Republicans by advocating for write-in candidates,” the document states.