US intel reveals Russia plans to meddle in 2024 election

A 2016 report found that Russia used online disinformation tactics to try and manipulate the election

Ariana Baio
Wednesday 10 July 2024 19:27
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US intelligence officials are warning that Russia is trying to influence the 2024 presidential election
US intelligence officials are warning that Russia is trying to influence the 2024 presidential election (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

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Russia will attempt to influence the 2024 US presidential election using familiar tactics like spreading misinformation online to subvert the public’s faith in the democratic election process, according to intelligence officials.

On Tuesday, officials in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told reporters that Russia is using covert social media tactics like targeting voter groups in swing states with bot farms.

The goal, they said, is to drive a larger rift in domestic political ideology, promote mistrust in the electoral system and sway public opinion in favor of a certain candidate.

“We haven’t observed a shift in Russia’s preferences for the presidential race from past elections,” a senior official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said.

Though officials did not name a particular candidate, investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election found that their strategies were aimed at helping Donald Trump.

Officials said the current activity is far less invasive than that in 2016, but Russia is likely to ramp up its efforts as the November election approaches.

The findings underline US intelligence officials’ concerns about foreign governments using social media or other online platforms to create domestic instability by furthering political divide or spreading disinformation.

Officials said they have observed efforts by Iranian government actors to escalate tensions within the US. by promoting protests or financially supporting protests regarding the war in Gaza. Though these actions do not have to do with the election directly, they contribute to heightening political tensions.,

A person reads a YouTube blog's update on US election misinformation in Los Angeles, June 2, 2023
A person reads a YouTube blog's update on US election misinformation in Los Angeles, June 2, 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)

“I know Americans who participate in protests are, in good faith, expressing their views on the conflict in Gaza – this intelligence does not indicate otherwise,” National Intelligence director Avril Haines said in a statement.

“Moreover, the freedom to express diverse views, when done peacefully, is essential to our democracy, but it is also important to warn of foreign actors who seek to exploit our debate for their own purposes,” Haines added.

Several US agencies are working to find and stop the social media disinformation campaigns.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) said on Tuesday they seized two domain names and 968 social media accounts used by Russian actors to create an AI-enhanced social media bot farm to spread disinformation. They released a joint advisory warning about the technology to stop future use.

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