An affiliate of a prominent conservative youth organization based in Arizona is paying teenagers, including minors, to pump out pro-Trump disinformation on social media, according to a Washington Post report.
The operation is similar to those used by bots to send out spam-like messages, but is carried out by people paid to use their own accounts, according to the newspaper. It is being bankrolled by Turning Point Action, which is an affiliate of Turning Point USA, a prominent conservative youth organisation. The posts to do not reveal any connection to the group.
The Post reported the operation had generated thousands of posts over the summer on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, in what experts said was one of the most ambitious domestic election influence campaigns of this election cycle.
Twitter and Facebook suspended several accounts after being contacted by the newspaper, meanwhile, a field director for Turning Point Action said the comparison to a troll farm was a "gross mischaracterisation", describing the the operation as "sincere political activism conducted by real people who passionately hold the beliefs they describe online, not an anonymous troll farm in Russia."