The self-proclaimed, “front page of the internet,” Reddit declared Russian bots have been responsible for conducting misconduct on the web platform. One account, determined to be a Russian bot, was responsible for posting a fake pornographic video of Hillary Clinton.
Based out of Russia, the Internet Research Agency has been identified as the author of a video alleging to be Hillary Clinton caught in an adult act. Calling the internet activities propaganda, the social media website banned over 900 accounts on Tuesday.
Of the 944 accounts banned for being Russian bots, one account, u/Rubinjer, posted the video under the title, “This is How Hillary gets black votes,” to the pro-Trump Reddit domain, r/The_Donald.
The same pornographic video was posted to the website Pornhub at least five times. Uploaded with the title, “Leaked Hillary Clinton’s Hotel Sex Tape with Black Guy,” the video has received more than 250,000 views on the adult content provider.
Alan Baskaev is a former employee of the Russian Internet Research Agency. Baskaev told the Russian television network, Rain, that internet trolls created a fake Hillary Clinton video last October.
Until the recent action taken by Reddit, there was no way to corroborate the whistleblower’s claims.
The video created by the Russian meddlers includes an elderly blonde woman having sexual relations with a younger black man. The video is filmed from a mock hidden camera in what appears to be a hotel room.
The video had been submitted to several different websites prior to the 2016 election.
According to analytical groups, Reddit is the fourth most visited website in the United States and the sixth most visited site globally. Pornhub ranks in the top 20 most popular websites in the United States.
Facebook, the third most popular website in the world, saw thousands of accounts deleted last September for being Russian bots. Twitter and Tumblr, ranked eight and 24 for popularity in the United States respectively, followed Facebook and deleted similar controversial accounts.
The Russian bots would pose as Americans and disseminate divisive ideals. Fostering animosity between the political parties, the Russians were trying to create distrust and anger in America.
Some of the tactics employed by the fake Russian accounts include stoking tensions between black people and cops. Gaining the trust of internet communities through funny memes and videos, some went even further than simple content creation.
Rubinjer also created a small computer game called, Hilltendo which was a spin-off of the classic Super Mario game.
CNN in their groundbreaking investigative journalism uncovered the fact that the 8-bit flash game was produced by the Russian Internet Research Agency last month. Labeled as propaganda, the Hillary Clinton based game was used to help identify the Russian actors.
Suggesting that only Russian troll farms would be aware of the dangerous content, Reddit CEO Steve Hoffman is no stranger to silencing dissenting opinions. While Hoffman was busy changing user comments and shadow banning users who post in the pro-Donald Trump page, he remained silent on the matter of Russian propaganda.
Relying on analytical and statistical information crowdsourced from the online community, Reddit announced their anti-Russian actions the same day Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, answered questions before the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Daily Beast reported earlier this month about unusual items appearing on a Russian auction website. Selling the contents of a data leak, the Internet Research Agency promised working American proxies.
The advertisement contained analytical data and account information for much of the social platform. After the breach, Reddit took almost immediate action and began to ban suspicious accounts.
Intense scrutiny of internet edge providers has gained international attention since news broke describing Cambridge Analytica’s relationship with Facebook and the 2016 campaign.
Former Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, was captured on video suggesting blackmailing people with Ukrainian hookers. Echoing the words of a Ukrainian prostitute detained in the Philippines, Nix suggests that politicians can be manipulated with these tapes.
With the advancement of technology, forgeries are becoming more relevant and harder to discern. Both audio and video tampering can be hidden from forensic experts in the digital age.
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee and applauded the efforts of the website Reddit. The senator remarked that Russian propaganda in any form will not be tolerated in America.