Fake news was a major factor in the 2016 election and, in some cases, fake stories about Hillary Clinton written by teenagers in Macedonia were more widely shared on Facebook than stories from legitimate news outlets.
We also know Russian social media trolls and bots targeted Americans to spread fake stories and shift public opinion, but how exactly did they target us? How did they identify which Americans may be susceptible to fake news?
According to Politico, investigators led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller are investigating whether or not data collected and used by the Trump campaign was shared with or used by the Russians.
The special counsel’s team is stacked with prosecutors and FBI agents well equipped to investigate the Moscow-connected Twitter bots and Facebook trolls that churned out campaign-related headlines boosting Trump’s candidacy. And more than a dozen sources from Congress, law enforcement and white-collar criminal cases who are familiar with such probes say the question of potential collusion between Trump’s aides and the invasive social media accounts is a crucial one. [...]
But Mueller — who is keeping mum on the scope of his investigation — faces a steep challenge. He has to prove that Trump’s aides and allies directly assisted the Russia-linked mischief makers, thereby running afoul of a federal law that prohibits presidential campaigns from accepting or coordinating contributions or expenditures — directly or indirectly — from foreign nationals.
Much has been made about Trump's data operation which was run by a Texas-based company and overseen by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, but the Trump campaign itself employed a skeleton crew and did not even have staff in many states. What did they use the data for?
Microtargeting of voters? Yes, but who did the targeting?