A report compiled on online influence operations in the 2016 elections points to an "aggressive" effort by Russia to inflame sentiments on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, with efforts dating back to as early as 2009. Russia increased those efforts as campaigning for the 2016 U.S. presidential election heated up, with the intention of boosting the candidacy of Republicans and then-candidate Donald Trump, the report says.
"What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically, Donald Trump," the report says.
The research was conducted for the Senate Intelligence Committee by Oxford University's Internet Institute. It describes an effort by Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA) to sow discord and polarize voters in the United States by creating and promoting news and opinion meant to amplify the most extreme views held by organizations on both the right and left of the political spectrum.