Tumblr has confirmed that Kremlin trolls were active on its platform during the 2016 US presidential elections. In a blog post today the social platform writes that it is “taking steps to protect against future interference in our political conversation by state-sponsored propaganda campaigns”. The company has also started emailing users who interacted with 84 accounts it now says it has linked to the Russian trollfarm, the Internet Research Agency (IRA). In the blog post it says it identified the accounts last fall — and “notified law enforcement, terminated the accounts, and deleted their original posts”. “Behind the scenes, we worked with the Department of Justice, and the information we provided helped indict 13 people who worked for the IRA,” it adds. In an email sent to a user, which was passed to TechCrunch to review, the company informs the individual they “either followed one of [11] accounts linked to the IRA, or liked or reblogged one of their posts”. “As part of our commitment to transparency, we want you to know that we uncovered and terminated 84 accounts linked to Internet Research Agency or IRA (a group closely tied to the the Russian government) posing as members of the Tumblr community,” the email begins. “The IRA engages in electronic disinformation and propaganda campaigns around the world using phony social media accounts. When we uncovered these accounts, we notified law enforcement, terminated the accounts, and deleted their original posts.” Last month Buzzfeed News — working with researcher, Jonathan Albright, from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University — claimed to have unearthed substantial Kremlin troll activity on Tumblr’s meme-laden platform — identifying what they dubbed as “a powerful, largely unrevealed network of Russian trolls focused on black issues and activism” which they said dated back to early 2015. The trolls were reported to be using Tumblr to push anti-Clinton messages, including by actively promoting Democrat rival Bernie Sanders. Decrying racial injustice and police violence in the US was another theme of the Russian-linked content. Since then The Daily Beast has also reported on leaked data from the IRA which also implied agents at the trollfarm had used Tumblr — and also Reddit — to spread political propaganda to target the 2016 US election. Those IRA leaks suggested the IRA had created at least 21 Tumblr accounts — and included names replete with slang terms, including some accounts listed in the user email we’ve…

Source: TechCrunch – Social Tumblr confirms 84 accounts linked to Kremlin trolls