From left, Facebook's General Counsel Colin Stretch, Twitter's Acting General Counsel Sean Edgett, and Google's Law Enforcement and Information Security Director Richard Salgado, are sworn in on Capitol Hill. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

Russian trolls in St. Petersburg tapped back into sleeper accounts, with stolen photos and fake backgrounds, to amplify support for Trump and negative takes on Hillary Clinton during Election Day 2016, according to The Daily Beast. The sleeper cell accounts pull less clout on Twitter than the most influential Russian trolls, with just about 5,000 followers each, and some with creation dates going as far back as 2009.

Why it matters: As The Daily Beast's Kevin Poulsen writes, "they churned along largely unnoticed, averaging two or three tweets a day, then perked up on Election Day." This means some of what the Twitter execs and other big tech execs may have to answer to is how to tackle smaller accounts that may fly under the radar, and not just fake, influential accounts that might be easier to spot.

Go deeper

Pundits react to a chaotic debate: “What a dark event we just witnessed”

The first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden in Cleveland on Tuesday night was a shouting match, punctuated by interruptions and hallmarked by name-calling.

Why it matters: If Trump aimed to make the debate as chaotic as possible with a torrent of disruptions, he succeeded. Pundits struggled to make sense of what they saw, and it's tough to imagine that the American people were able to either.

Trump to far-right Proud Boys: "Stand back and stand by"

Asked to condemn white supremacist violence at the first presidential debate on Tuesday, President Trump said the far-right Proud Boys group should "stand back and stand by," before immediately arguing that violence in the U.S. "is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly been accused of failing to condemn white nationalism and right-wing violence, despite the FBI's assessment that it's the most significant domestic terrorism threat that the country faces. The president has frequently associated antifa and the left-wing violence that has afflicted some U.S. cities with Biden, despite his condemnation of violent protests.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?

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