After #Trumpsniffle died out on Twitter, #TrumpWon started trending. While sources like CNN and 538 listed Clinton as the winner, USA Today took a more neutral approach and dubbed social media was the real victory. Team Trump scrambled to make his sniffling interrupting performance a win by complaining about the mic. And yet, strangely, several polls listed Trump as the winner. How that possible?
Simple. Pro-Trump trolls rigged the results.
Users of the pro-Trump Reddit community r/The_Donald and 4chan message boards, bombarded 70 online polls those at Time and Fortune. Trump, of course, was quick to accept any kind of results, regardless of origin, that feed his ego.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2016
At the same time that Trump trolls were flooding online polls, #TrumpWon began trending on Twitter. Twitter users who had been mocking Trump’s sniffle wondered how this was possible.
— #RemoveTrump (@France4Hillary) September 27, 2016
But Trump didn’t question it, he gladly accepted that he was winning Twitter as well as several polls. The apparently source of the trend was Russia.
Mensch is the head of the news website Heat street who also enjoyed Trump’s sniffling performance.
— Heat Street (@heatstreet) September 27, 2016
While polls are notoriously easy to manipulate, online polls are even more so. The average internet user can easily find tips to help skew results. And so it seems Trump might have been able to save himself a tidy sum if he took Mensch’s advice about online polls not really mattering.
This isn’t the first time that Russian trolls have helped Trump. Adrian Chen discovered an “army of well paid trolls” in Russia paid by the Kremlin to spread false information on the internet. This type of “information warfare” is known as “dezinformatsiya” and has been used since the Cold War.
It’s interesting that this happened just hours after cyber security was discussed at the debate. It’s hardly surprising that Trump didn’t do well with that particular issue. Of course, he defended Russia during that segment and later they had his back for it.
UPDATE: Apparently reports that #TrumpWon originated in Russia ARE FALSE. Adrian Chen who tracks paid Russian trolls, said “none of the trolls that I have catalogued tweeted #trumpwon.”
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