The US Justice Department has indicted 13 Russians three companies for subverting the 2016 election.
The Russians are accused of posing as Americans on Facebook and Instagram — often using stolen identities — to distribute divisive ads and inflammatory messaging to sow discord among US voters.
The charges demonstrate how critical Facebook and Instagram were to the disinformation campaign, with the two social media platforms mentioned 41 times in the indictment.
Other platforms mentioned in the indictment — although much less frequently that Facebook and Instagram – are Twitter, YouTube and PayPal.
Among the indicted companies is Internet Research Agency (IRA), also known as Glasvet, that performs online influence operations on behalf of Russian interests.
It is believed than more than 1 000 paid bloggers worked for the agency at one time.