If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about the Internet Research Agency (IRA) from the Russian trolls themselves, it looks like you missed your chance. The Daily Beast reports that the online troll farm indicted by Robert Mueller held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit late last year, except no one showed up except for trolls connected to the IRA.
According to The Daily Beast, the IRA contacted journalists ahead of the AMA with a request for questions
“We have been following your work concerning Internet Research Agency with great interest,” the email said. “We will be glad to answer your questions on AMA Reddit Session soon. You can ask your questions via the special form on blackmattersus.com and/or donotshoot.us These questions will have a higher priority during the AMA Reddit session.”
When they never heard back from the trolls, writers at The Daily Beast thought that it never happened until an unusual Reddit thread from December 2017 surfaced. In it, the IRA announced an impromptu Q&A session on Christmas morning and used the questions that The Daily Beast had emailed.
Normally, AMAs field questions from other Reddit users which makes it seem very likely that no one else attended other than the trolls associated with the organization.
According to The Daily Beast, there’s more proof that only trolls were present because the majority of the accounts that asked questions were removed in Reddit’s recent cull of accounts linked to the IRA.
What’s even more bizarre is that the trolls answered the questions with messages written on cartoons similar to the artwork used as a logo in a recent campaign that targeted the midterm elections.
In one of the cartoon illustrations, a green goblin says, “Unfortunately we can’t pay for FB ads with rubles anymore and it sucks.”
— The Verge (@verge) November 7, 2018
On Tuesday, Business Insider reported that Facebook removed 115 Facebook and Instagram accounts with links to the Internet Research Agency. According to the article, the removal was based on information received from law enforcement agencies.
Based on the statement that was sent to Business Insider and other media outlets, Facebook banned the suspected Russian troll accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” which is against the social media platform’s rules.
“This evening a website claiming to be associated with the IRA published a list of Instagram accounts they claim to have created,” the statement read. “We had already blocked most of these accounts yesterday, and have now blocked the rest.”