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Russian election meddlers started an anti-masturbation hotline, report claims

The Russia-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA) may have tried to blackmail potential American recruits by setting up a fake anti-masturbation hotline, according to a news report commitee The IRA reportedly advertised its hotline on a fake Christian Facebook page, encouraging readers to reach out if they were “struggling with the addiction to masturbation.”

This bizarre detail was part of a larger analysis of ongoing Russian political influence campaigns on social media that were produced by researchers at cybersecurity company New Knowledge, Columbia University, and Canfield Research. It’s meant to illustrate the reach and complexity of the IRA’s operations, although the report doesn’t say whether it actually worked.

As previous reports have detailed, the IRA has tied itself to american political movements and encouraged supporters to unwittingly spread divisive propaganda. It’s also cultivated relationships with individuals under the guise of supporting causes like the Trump campaign or Black Lives Matter. According to the white paper, the IRA looked for compromising information on these potential assets, “even going so far as to help create hotlines for people struggling with sexual behavior, creating an opportunity to blackmail or manipulate these individuals in the future.”


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