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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

49 mins ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

The perils of organizing underground

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers see one bright spot as far-right extremists turn to private and encrypted online platforms: Friction.

Between the lines: For fringe organizers, those platforms may provide more security than open social networks, but they make it harder to recruit new members.

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