Report: Russian Trolls Trained by Watching 'House of Cards'

| OCT 16, 2017 | 11:20 PM

At least one Russian “troll factory” required its trolls to watch the Netflix series “House of Cards” as part of their training to stir up trouble in comments sections online and pit Americans against the United States government.

The previously-named Internet Research Agency, located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, focused on posting comments that demonized former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, attacked former President Barack Obama, related to guns, or denigrated homosexuality as a sin.

One of the factory's former employees, identified as “Maksim,” told Russian television station Rain of his former employer's strategy, as Yahoo! News reported. During an interview broadcast Sunday, Maksim said he tried using his comments to “lower” Obama's ratings and remind Americans of Clinton family scandals.

Trolls avoided mentioning Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, because Americans, according to Maksim, didn't care about those topics. “Because the Americans do not talk about it. They, in fact, do not care about Russia and Putin," Maksim said.

Maksim reportedly worked in the factory's highly selective English language department, which Facebook accused of planting more than 3,000 messages on its website.

Sunday's interview came amid mounting reports that Russian trolls used social media in apparent attempts to influence U.S. politics and the 2016 election.

Earlier in October, a report surfaced alleging that Russian-linked Facebook accounts used the platform to target swing states with ads during the 2016 election. Facebook said in September it would provide Congress with copies of thousands of ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts.