by Maggie Serota / October 27, 2017
An interview with a propagandist working for one of the various Russian “troll factories” generating fake news designed to influence the 2016 election recently ran on an independent Russian TV channel and was picked up by The Daily Beast. Alan Baskaev told TV Rain that he spent six months working the graveyard shift at a glorified click farm called Internet Research Agency. Baskaev said that one of his projects entailed hiring a black man and a Hillary Clinton decoy to record a sex tape.
According to Baskaev, most of the night shift employees were just churning out fake Pro-Trump content for cash and weren’t driven by any particularly ideology. In fact, he said that most of his colleagues didn’t take the job seriously and used to to make ridiculous content for the fun of it. When he was hired two years ago, Baskaev says he was just a college student tasked with providing impersonations of black men and “Kentucky rednecks” for their propaganda videos.
From The Daily Beast:
Once, Baskaev recalled, Russian propaganda-makers thought they hit the “sensation” jackpot with a fake video of a black man and a woman who looked like Hillary Clinton having sex.
“Do you understand… no one will believe that,” Baskaev said.
Another time, he recalled, “our idiots” made a video that supposedly featured an African-American soldier shooting a Quran. But, Baskaev laughs, the man turned out to have an African accent. (Comments on the YouTube page for that video are in Russian, mocking the failed piece of propaganda.)
Baskaev, who is now teaching Russian in Thailand, was shitcanned for copying and pasting pre-written messageboard posts instead of responding to the existing posts.
“All six months that I worked there it all looked like farce and clownery,” Basaev said. “It was the realest postmodernism — postmodernism, Dadaism, and surrealism.”
We’re glad he had a good time while trying to tip the scales of the 2016 election towards an elderly toddler.
In addition to creating content, these Russian troll farms reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting the content across social media platforms.