Russian Trolls Pushed Anti-Dakota Pipeline Propaganda

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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A Russian internet farm used a now-suspended Instagram account to push anti-Dakota pipeline propaganda during the 2016 election, according to Russian outlet RBC.

The account with the handle @Native_Americans_United shared political pictures relating to various Native American topics of debate, including the oil pipeline through North Dakota that was under construction in 2016, according to BuzzFeed on Monday. The account was one of several the Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency (IRA) used to drive Americans apart politically, such as the @Ten_GOP Twitter account that posed as a representative of the Tennessee Republican Party.

The anti-pipeline protests centered on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who claimed the pipeline would uncover sacred burial grounds and contaminate water resources. Thousands of protesters set up a camp blocking the construction throughout late-2016. (RELATED: Russian-Purchased Black Lives Matter Ad Targeted Ferguson)

The account posted a picture of a U.S. military cemetery with the caption, “If and oil company destroyed these ‘sacred’ burial grounds Americans would lose their minds. But when an oil company destroys Native American sacred burial grounds no one says a word.”

Another post from the Russian account showed a photo of a Native American man with the caption, “Dear Racists in America, your car is Japanese, your beer is German, your electronics are Taiwanese, your fashion is French, your oil is Saudi Arabian, your vodka is Russian, and never forget the land you live on is mine.”

The IRA paid activists more than $80,000 and ran more than 3,000 ads targeting various political and social issues in the U.S. that could have reached 3 million people, according to the New York Daily News.

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