Russians Created Twitter Accounts for Fake Local News Sites

In an attempt to destabilize the U.S. and influence the 2016 election, Russian operatives created social-media accounts for fake local news organizations, NPR reports. The outlet found 48 accounts created by the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, including @ElPasoTopNews, @MilwaukeeVoice, @CamdenCityNews and @Seattle_Post. For years, these accounts posted real news to build trust with American readers. “If at any given moment they wanted to operationalize this network of what seemed to be local American news handles, they can significantly influence the narrative on a breaking news story,” Bret Schafer, a social media analyst at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told NPR. Twitter found and suspended the accounts. A 2016 Pew Research study found that 82 percent of Americans had at least “some” confidence in their local news, while only 76 percent had confidence in national news.