NEW YORK (AP) — The latest efforts to disrupt the U.S. midterm elections through Facebook manipulation seem to be following a persuasion playbook refined by legitimate companies and organizations — but with a twist.
Their aim is to draw in as many people as possible with emotional appeals and then spur them to action. In this case, though, the action is public protest rather than affinity marketing, and the goal is to sow dissension rather than to build brand awareness.
Recently, Facebook said it had removed 32 apparently fake accounts and pages created by "bad actors" involved in what Facebook calls inauthentic political behavior. Although Facebook didn't specifically say Russians were behind the latest efforts, the reported activity shared many similarities with Russian influence campaigns during the 2016 presidential election.