Jenna Abrams, a popular Twitter user who garnered media and alt-right attention before the 2016 US election, has been found to be a Russian troll. Her account was the work of a Kremlin-sponsored troll farm, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), according to a congressional investigation.
Abrams was portrayed as an American blogger who was vocal about her belief that the political correctness culture is the root cause of most of America's problems, notes a report by the Daily Beast. Her persona was crafted to reflect that of a xenophobic, straight-talking, white woman.
She even tweeted about feminism and slavery, creating an image of a person who people loved to engage with.
The Twitter account was reportedly created sometime in 2014, long before the US elections.
Over time, Abrams built up a 70,000-strong fan following and was often quoted by mainstream media and news outlets including USA Today, The Washington Post, The Independent, The Telegraph, CNN, the BBC, The New York Times, Business Insider, and several other such news publications, noted the Daily Beast.
Abrams was reportedly designed not to be openly political about Russia, or even the elections.
Rather, she was part of several, varied discussions and debates that stretched from funny tweets about celebrities to issues like immigration and segregation. This could have possibly been one of the reasons why it was not readily apparent that she was a foreign troll. There was no direct propaganda like the Facebook accounts that were decisively pro-Trump.
Public influencers like actress Roseanne Barr, former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, Historian Kevin Kruse and several others were known to have been involved in direct arguments with Abrams on Twitter.
Unlike a troll account, Jenna Abrams was well crafted and made to operate like a real person with a life outside Twitter.
She had a gmail account, a GoFundMe page, an active blog, and even a Medium page. DB notes that the IRA went to great lengths to make her seem like a real human being.
The months leading up to the US elections saw Abrams get a lot more political. For example, in one of her Medium posts, she wrote, "Humanity has gone full circle. Never mind how many activists of any color died to get rid of segregation, and fought for inclusion, black people want it back. 100% free people made their choice, and their choice is segregation." Her posts have since been taken down.
"The key to being a good troll is being just stupid enough to be believable, keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is making people mad online," Ironghazi, the infamous American Twitter troll who was reportedly out-trolled by Abrams last year, said when contacted by DB for his comments.
Depsite the account being deleted, some of Abram's past tweets have been archived online.