According to two bipartisan reports by the Senate Intelligence Committee, Instagram
, which is owned by Facebook, played a much bigger role in Russia’s manipulation campaign than previously thought. The campaign was spearheaded by the Russia Internet Research Agency (IRA) based in St. Petersburg, which received direction from the Kremlin to carry out its systematic campaign to misinform and divide U.S. voters.
The IRA was tasked with sowing misinformation in the leadup to the 2016 election
and beyond. The organization changed the centerpiece of its strategy from Facebook and Twitter content to Instagram posts after Facebook and Twitter received negative press around Russian activity on their sites.
Instagram generated 187 million interactions
or engagements with IRA content. Facebook grossed 77 million engagements and Twitter was not too far behind with 73 million interactions. Interactions or engagements are the numbers of people who connect with content on social media.