HILARITY ALERT: Moon of Alabama Explains What the Indicted Russian Trolls Were Really Doing
While the MSM has been going bonkers in outrage over the dastardly attack on American democracy committed by 13 Russians — the tacit understanding being that they were operating on orders from Putin’s government — German analyst Moon of Alabama has calmly explained what these Russians were really up to:
Moon of Alabama — Mueller Indictment — The “Russian Influence” Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme
In other words, the Russian trolls indicted by Mueller were not trying to sway an election or jangle the delicate psyches of Americans with “chaos” — they were selling advertising space.
As MoA notes, the kill shot is in the indictment itself:
Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.
The trolls created dozens of web pages catering to specific points of view or interests, often associated with certain assumed personas; they drove viewers to these pages with provocative ads or social postings; and they made money by selling ad space on the pages. This perfectly explains why the content posted by the trolls was so chaotic in focus: they were trying to harvest eyes from as many market segments as possible, to meet the needs of every potential client. This diversity of focus has been interpreted as “sowing chaos” — as opposed to “stimulating interest in public affairs” — in line with the dictates of Deep State Russophobia.
This also explains why only a very small percentage of the ads directly endorsed or bashed a candidate: the trolls’ aim was not to achieve the election of a particular candidate, but to sell ad space on their click-bait webpages.
Here’s what the VP for advertising at Facebook has just tweeted:
Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.
The indictment pinpoints 13 ads bought by the trolls that either bash Hillary or exalt Trump (out of the 3,000 or so total they purchased). The intent evidently is to depict the trolls as engaged in a campaign to elect Trump, in confirmation of the Hilbot/Deep State narrative. How much do you want to bet that the indictment failed to mention ads placed by the Russians that support Hillary or bash Trump?
Note also that, since the Russian trolls spent only about $100K on all the ads they placed (56% of which were placed after the election, and 25% of which never ran at all), that they paid less than $3 for about half the ads, and less than $1000 for 99% of them, it’s more than likely that the total cost of the 13 ads which allegedly put our democracy in danger came to less than $5K. (If they spent the average amount they spent per ad on these, the total would be about $50!) And yet we are expected to believe that this was a serious effort to sway the election undertaken at the behest of the Russian government. If nothing else, you have to admire Mueller’s chutzpah!
Moon of Alabama also notes this: Mueller’s indictment implies that it is illegal for foreigners to comment on US politics during an election unless they have registered as foreign agents — an interpretation that is legally dubious, to say the least. Of course, even if Mueller’s claim here were valid, it wouldn’t apply to the indicted trolls, as they were not functioning as foreign agents attempting to sway American elections — they were selling ad space.
So Mueller has hilariously misconstrued a profit-seeking troll farm as a felonious foreign influence campaign. All evidently as part of a Deep State psy-ops to convince the American people to be VERY AFRAID of Russia, and to justify the Mueller investigation witch hunt.
All in all, Mueller’s efforts live up to the high standards set by the entire Russiagate affair to date.