Not Shown in the Media: Russian Bots Aided the Environmental Movement
The Committee began investigating Russian attempts to influence U.S. energy markets in the summer of 2017 when Chairman Smith wrote the Secretary of Treasury regarding Russia’s intricate money-laundering scheme. Russian-sponsored agents funneled money to U.S. environmental organizations in an attempt to portray energy companies in a negative way and disrupt domestic energy markets. Upon discovering that Russia may have exploited American social media platforms to accomplish its disruptive objectives, the Committee broadened the scope of its investigation. On September 26, 2017, the Committee requested data from Facebook and Twitter as part of this expanded investigation.And later:
Documents that the American social media companies produced for the Committee confirmed that Russian agents were exploiting American social media platforms in an effort to disrupt domestic energy markets, suppress research and development of fossil-fuels, and stymie efforts to expand the use of natural gas.
Subsequent to the Committee’s initial request, media revelations indicated that Russian operatives, “intent on exploiting existing divisions and social movements in the United States,” had in fact sought to influence U.S. energy markets by exploiting American social media platforms. According to the media report, Russian agents exploited Instagram by “shar[ing] images related to Native American social and political issues — including the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.” Moreover, many of the Russian-linked accounts targeted “highly visible tension points” in America, including “protests against pipelines.”
Findings:The Russian interest in energy is clear: Russia is itself a huge energy producer, and the U.S. is a rival producer. Throttling American production both serves Russia’s geopolitical interests, and keeps energy prices high by reducing supply.
- Between 2015 and 2017, there were an estimated 9,097 Russian posts or tweets regarding U.S. energy policy or a current energy event on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Between 2015 and 2017, there were an estimated 4,334 IRA [Internet Research Agency — the Russian bot farm] accounts across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- According to information provided by Twitter, more than four percent of all IRA tweets were related to energy or environmental issues, a significant portion of content when compared to the eight percent of IRA tweets that were related to the election in the U.S.
- Russia exploited American social media as part of its concerted effort to disrupt U.S. energy markets and influence domestic energy policy.
- The IRA targeted pipelines, fossil fuels, climate change, and other divisive issues to influence public policy in the U.S.
The MediaAt the moment a Google search for “Russian bots US energy policy” turns up only four relevant media articles. But a search for “Russian bots US election” turns up a massive number. Google states “about 2,520,000 results,” but users know that the ones at the bottom of this massive collection may be pretty much irrelevant. However we got down through 180 results, still finding relevant articles, and found Google saying they were omitting “very similar” entries. There must have been a ton of these.
If Russian attempts to influence the U.S. Presidential election are a huge scandal, why isn’t this? Why have not the Mainstream Media paid much attention?
The answer, of course, is simple and obvious. They dislike Donald Trump (hate him, actually), but they like the environmentalists. Thus portraying Trump as supported by the evil Russians fits their narrative. Admitting that Russia was supporting the environmentalists does not.