Russian trolls were reportedly ordered to watch “House of Cards”

Individuals who worked for Putin’s Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg were required to watch the hit Netflix series to help them craft messages to “set up the Americans against their own government,” reports Yahoo News. The information comes from an alleged troll going by the name of “Maksim” who says he worked in the agency’s elite English language department. The troll, who said he worked at the IRA in 2015, said their main message was to focus on the Clinton’s past scandals and stoke discontent about President Obama and the U.S. government. “We had a goal to set up the Americans against their own government. To cause unrest, cause discontent, [and] lower [President] Obama’s rating,” the troll told a Russian news agency. As Yahoo reported:

“At first we were forced to watch the House of Cards in English,” said Maksim in the interview. It was part of a documented “strategy” in the English language department to fully understand how the American political system works. “It was necessary to know all the main problems of the United States of America. Tax problems, the problem of gays, sexual minorities, weapons,” he said.

“You were given a list of media that you had to monitor and comment on–New York Times, Washington Post,” he added. The trolls were required to look through thousands of comments on the publications’ articles. “It was necessary to look through all this and understand the general trend, what people were writing about, what they are arguing about,” he said. “And then get into the dispute yourself to kindle it, try to rock the boat.”

The trolls were even measured by “how much you got ‘likes.’ The comment was supposed to provoke a discussion.”

Maksim also revealed two major themes the trolls were to write about in their posts: homosexuals and guns: “When it was gays, we almost always had to bring out the religious themes. Americans are very religious, especially those [who post] on news sites and write comments. You had to write that sodomy is a sin. That could always get you a couple of dozen ‘likes.'”MG