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And I'm still skeptical either were that effective. Domestic efforts go into the billions of dollars and involve entire sectors of the domestic economy.

Probably. The biggest thing was not on social media at all - it was the drip releasing of the hacked email dumps, which controlled the news cycle for months and fed into the corrupt Hillary narrative.

I have a feeling that these things worked in synergy and would not have had much effect if deployed on their own.

I'm not saying that the Russians or whoever influenced the election necessarily knew what they were doing from the outset but I think that they have stumbled on a combination that works or at least worked at that time.

Which leads me to another interesting point: Will these techniques work again in the future? Will the application of them need to be tweaked for differences in our culture or in different localities? How so?

It's all very interesting stuff. I wish there was more data.

What do you mean by “these techniques”? I would say it boiled down to “telling lies that infatuate their target audience.”

In this regard I’d say the collusion conspiracy kicked off by Steele has been significantly more efffective than any Russian effort leading up to the election.

Mostly that’s because the Russians had some fake Facebook groups while Steele had the FBI and a large part of the American mass media all shilling for him.

That, and tampering with voting infrastructure to alter the results. There is a growing body of evidence that the GRU has actually hacked the election in the most literal sense, using the detailed polling data supplied by Manafort and as a map.

Anomalies were detected in the data as early as 2016. The Mueller report brings even more evidence to the table. At this point it’s likely that voting infrastructure was compromised in some way in all 50 states, with detectable anomalies in all swing states, and in all states where Trump blindsided pollsters. It turns out that actual fraud might be the reason for the blindsiding.


>> There is a growing body of evidence

Present the evidence then. I keep hearing about this mythical "evidence" of vote tampering in particular, and yet when I press for the actual evidence to be presented it turns out to be entirely "faith based" in the end every time. The very article you linked to, in fact, says: "There's still no evidence of vote hacking, of course".

Disclosure: I'm a naturalized Russian American who has spent most of his life in the US. Love this country, warts and all.

DHS has said they know they're already trying to hack into various voting machines to alter ballets. They felt confident that even if they did, the decentralized nature of our voting process would make it to arduous to be effective [1]. Voting machines have made rounds here before, mainly due to their lack of security [2]. Let's not forget that there were other hacks designed to sway voter confidence in Trumps favor [3]. All the while social media has been lit on fire through various efforts, such as inflammatory meme's [4], actual paid advertising campaigns [5], and funding for extremist groups [6].

Yes, there's no direct proof that they hacked our voting ballots. I think there is some evidence, but that agencies assumed they just weren't effective AND witheld the information in an effort to prevent Russia's ultimate motive of undermining democracy entirely. This is why nobody is showing evidence and choosing to rely on "faith".

[1] https://www.dhs.gov/news/2016/10/07/joint-statement-departme... [2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18093568 [3] https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/26/us/2016-presidential-campaign... and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uUfYtHfw3A [4] https://www.wired.com/story/russia-ira-propaganda-senate-rep... [5] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/us/politics/russia-2016-e... [6] https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/08/russia-is-...

There was widespread vulnerability scanning of election websites (not sure how they distinguish this from the scanning that happens on every IPv4 address).

In some cases there was attempts to do SQL injection on these sites.

In a couple instances there is evidence that voter rolls were accessed.

There is no evidence of any vote tampering, and any suggestion that there was is just a conspiracy theory.

  >> to prevent Russia's ultimate motive of 
  >> undermining democracy entirely
I do not believe Russia has such a motive. I do believe they do want to weaken the US (just as the US wants to weaken its own geostrategic opponents, including Russia), but they couldn't really care less if the US is a democracy or something else. That's why FB ads were targeted at both sides, to rile them up against each other. And that's also why they organized protests after Trump won.

For the past 2 years or so, the entirety of the democratic party and mainstream press have been helping them to undermine and divide the US, so I figure it's working according to their plan. The US is exactly where Putin wants it to be: unproductive squabbling in the Congress and Senate, executive branch is partially paralyzed, half the US hates the other half due to basically lies fed to them by the mainstream press.

The rest of your post underscores my point perfectly: it's a faith-based argument.

It seems like they're following the "Donald Trump" strategy of publicity: (1)do something scandalous (2)get picked up by mainstream media for a cycle of handwringing/counter-handwringing, (3)profit (in form of outsize impact): you have the left angry, the right banding together in indignation, and the truly undecided unsure if what they're seeing is this "fake news" they've heard about. No billions required.

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