Russian trolling had little effect on the referendum outcome – it was like pouring a bucket of water into the ocean

It’s become a staple of “Russiagate” coverage in the US: a “bombshell report” promises to once and for all prove that Donald Trump owes his presidency to Russian dirty money, political meddling or bots, trolls and hackers. But buried deep inside the article, a reluctant qualifier completely undermines the bombastic headline.

Recent case in point: BuzzFeed’s article titled Secret Findings 60 Russian Payments “To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016”, complete with an eye-poppingly red banner which hammers home the above quote. Even more suggestive – and intentionally misleading, as it appears – was a push notification sent by BuzzFeed to promote the article. The most plausible explanation for wire transfers from a Russian bank to Russian embassies across the world makes it clear that the money was intended to fund the Russian election campaign of 2016, not the American one. It’s well hidden inside the article and surrounded by unnecessary, irrelevant details (“Seven nations had federal elections during the span when the funds were sent”.)

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