Russians working in a St. Petersburg “troll factory” were required to watch the popular Netflix television series House of Cards in order to learn about American politics, in order to better write messages to influence Americans to turn against their government.
Yahoo! correspondent Michael Isikoff learned of this fact while speaking with a former member of one of these troll factories, who were part of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s campaign to influence the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Isikoff told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “Every comma was reviewed by (Maksim’s) bosses to make sure it was in the right place so it sounded like an American posting by Americans. Primarily what he was doing was placing comments on the websites of major news organizations, The Washington Post, The New York Times and others.
The Russian trolls watched House of Cards in order to learn about the biggest problems Americans are currently facing, including “Tax problems, the problem of gays, sexual minorities, [and] weapons.” Ironically, the problems faced in House of Cards, according to Isikoff, often resemble those more in tune with Russia than the United States. “The House of Cards element is new. We hadn’t heard that before. In some ways, the vision of American politics on House of Cards probably more closely resembles Russian politics rather than American politics. We don’t have evidence of major American politicians ordering the assassinations of political foes or journalists, which we do have in Russia.”