Russian Trolls "seem to be using vaccination as a wedge issue, promoting discord in American society," according to a new study shared by long-time Slashdot reader skam240. "The topic became another issue the Russian Trolls seized upon to widen existing rifts in America and turn citizens against each other," reports NBC News. But Fortune reports there's more to the story: While the latest study highlights how Russian outfits have increasingly used social media to toy with people's emotions to influence their behavior, it's also notable for the fact that most Twitter users appeared to have ignored its anti-vaccine messages... Outside of the Russian trolls, virtually no real Twitter users actually responded to the messages, said the paper's author David Broniatowski, an assistant professor in at George Washington University's School of Engineering and Applied Science. Generally, Russian trolls try to exploit controversial topics like religion, and race and class division, but "sometimes they get it hilariously wrong," he said. Broniatowski attributed the campaign's failure to the content of the tweets, which included: "VaccinateUS mandatory #vaccines infringe on constitutionally protected religious freedoms;" "Did you know there was a secret government database of #vaccine-damaged children? #VaccinateUS;" and "Dont get #vaccines. Iluminati are behind it. #VaccinateUS." The messages were so far-fetched that even people who believe in conspiracy theories chose to ignore them.
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