The Russia watchPutin’s favorite congressman loses; election interference in 2018; factory of lies, and more

Published 8 November 2018

·  Russians meddling in the midterms? Here’s the data

·  Don’t be fooled: There was election interference in 2018

·  The surprising good news about voting security

·  Dana Rohrabacher, Putin’s favorite congressman, on verge of losing his seat to Democrat Harley Rouda

·  Factory of lies: Russia’s disinformation playbook exposed

·  How Estonia secures its electronic elections from Kremlin attacks

·  Facebook takes down fake accounts over Russian troll farm concerns

·  Russia has given up on outright fake news for meddling in midterms, experts say — but is using more subtle techniques instead

Russians meddling in the midterms? Here’s the data (Jonathon Morgan and Ryan Fox, New York Times)
They haven’t stopped trying to influence our elections. Indeed, they may be busier than ever.

Don’t be fooled: There was election interference in 2018 (Joshua Geltzer, Just Security)
With Election Day 2018 behind us, many are breathing a sigh of relief.  Those following closely the prospect of widespread election interference are indicating that, despite fears of everything from the changing of votes to the spread of disinformation, the 2018 midterms saw relatively little by way of such interference, or at least less than occurred in 2016.  It’s true that there have been no credible reports of actual vote changing of the type that could call into question the Election Day results, and that’s reassuring.  But, all told, it’s unfortunately misguided to suggest that this campaign season and ultimately this election were free from election interference.  That’s for at least three reasons.
First, consider the changes in Russian tactics for reaching American audiences. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have stepped up their efforts to address election interference and in so doing disrupted, at least to some extent, Moscow’s attempts to repeat its 2016 tactics like the building of false personas with large followings.  But make no mistake: the Kremlin has adapted.  With a broader array of sources for disinformation—from newly created websites to greater numbers of social media accounts, each with smaller followings—overall Russia appears to have engaged in more disruptions to democratic dialogue in 2018 than in 2016, not fewer.  This is an unfortunate and troubling state of affairs that leading experts Jonathon Morgan and Ryan Fox have documented through extensive research and analysis. (Cont.)