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How political trolls use memes to deceive social media users – Source

Russian-sponsored Twitter trolls, who so aggressively exploited social media to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, didn’t stop when Donald Trump was elected president.

Even after the election, they remained active and adapted their methods, including using images—among them, easy-to-digest meme images such as Hillary Clinton appearing to run away from police—to spread their views. As part of our study to understand how these trolls operate, we analyzed 1.8 million images posted on Twitter by 3,600 accounts identified by Twitter itself as being part of Russian government-sponsored disinformation campaigns, from before the 2016 election through 2018, when those accounts were shut down by Twitter.

While our study focused on those specific accounts, it’s reasonable to assume that others exist and are still active. Until they were blocked by Twitter, the accounts we studied were sharing images about events in Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S.—including divisive political…

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