CBS News — A popular Reddit account linked to the Russian trolling company Internet Research Agency (IRA) circulated a fake Hillary Clinton sex tape on the website during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Reddit user “Rubinjer” shared a gif of the false pornographic video titled “Leaked Hillary Clinton’s Hotel Sex Tape with Black Guy” to one of Reddit’s most popular subreddits “r/The_Donald” and others.
Rubinjer shared the graphic content both as gifs and videos in 2016 ahead of the election, although most Reddit users were skeptical of the post.
The fake video has been posted and reposted several times to pornographic websites, and Rubinjer’s gif of the video still available on Reddit.
Reddit has banned Rubinjer, but will keep the account “temporarily preserved for purposes of transparency,” a pinned post from Reddit at the top of the user’s page reads. From posting to the site, the account gained nearly 100,000 “karma,” or the metric used to measure Reddit users’ post popularity.
Tuesday, Reddit released its annual transparency report and found that 944 accounts were linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, which actively engaged in attempts to influence American thinking during the presidential election. Reddit released the usernames tied to the agency that were banned for “suspected Russian Internet Research Agency origin.” Rubinjer is included on that list. NBC News first reported on the fake Clinton tape and its link to the IRA.
Congressional inquiries and the U.S. intelligence community have found that the Kremlin-linked agency used professional internet trolls in an attempt to sow discord and spread disinformation in the United States with online posts and comments.
Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman, who goes by the username “spez” on the website, wrote in the post that there were about 14,000 posts total from the 944 discovered accounts.
“The same techniques we use looking backwards, we will continue to use into the future. Preventing the manipulation of Reddit, political or otherwise, has always been a priority for us, and we’ll continue to invest here,” spez said in reply to one commenter on Reddit’s transparency report post. “One thing to note is that the majority of users in this list and their posts were caught and banned by moderators, so improving tools for community moderation will also be an ongoing investment.”
The Internet Research Agency has been pervasive in a variety of online communities, spreading disinformation on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr among others.