ISD Senior Research Manager Jared Holt spoke to Axios about American political extremists and their overlap with Russian social media platforms. Extremists and Russian platforms often come together as a marriage of conveniences, Jared told Axios, and the Russian government has no incentive to do anything to discourage it.
Jared also noted that US extremists have long been using social media platforms that currently or formerly were based in Russia including VKontakte, OK.RU, and Telegram. Recently, the alleged gunman who killed eight at a Dallas, Texas, mall was found to have had a profile on OK.RU where he referenced posts from white nationalists and linked to other sites like 4chan, NBC News reported. The appeal in these kinds of cases is a platform with less content regulation, but still easily accessible in the US– a “classic strategy of 21st-century foreign digital influence” by Russia.