If you thought Texas’ Facebook fever swamp got especially weird as the 2016 election approached, you were right. According to a couple of new, third-party reports released by the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll farm behind the country’s fake news campaign to interfere in the 2016 election, specifically targeted Texas with one of its most successful pages. According to one of the reports — from Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project — a page managed by the Russian agency called “Heart of Texas” racked up the third-most likes of any page managed by the group, with 5.5 million. Users shared posts from the page nearly 5 million times and made more than 400,000 comments before Facebook shut it down in September 2017.
Images from the second report, compiled by New Knowledge, an Austin-based cybersecurity firm, show the type of posts that appeared most often on Heart of Texas and its sister page on Instagram, @rebeltexas. They’re the sort of thing you might’ve seen if you’ve ever spent any time on Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s popular Facebook page — all Texas pride, non sequiturs and Second Amendment memes.
“Heart of Texas visual clusters included a wide swath of shapes of Texas, landscape photos of flowers, and memes about secession and refugees,” the New Knowledge report says.
Full Article: Russian Trolls Targeted Texas in 2016 | Dallas Observer.