An online disinformation campaign conducted by a former Obama administration official leading up to the 2018 midterm elections was bankrolled by left-wing tech billionaire Reid Hoffman, according to the Daily Caller's Peter Hasson.
Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn, admitted in December to funding American Engagement Technologies (AET) - which is currently embroiled in a "false flag" scandal stemming from the 2017 Alabama special election.
Now, AET and its founder Mickey Dickerson have come under fire for meddling in the 2018 midterm elections.
American Engagement Technologies (AET), which was founded by former Obama administration official Mikey Dickerson, bought ads for two Facebook pages, “The Daily Real” and “Today’s Nation,” encouraging Republican voters to stay home in the midterm elections, Facebook’s ad archives show.
Both pages appear to be designed to give the impression that they were operated by frustrated conservatives rather than by Democratic operatives.
The American flag-adorned pages encouraged conservative voters to either stay home in November or vote for Democrats to punish Republicans for being insufficiently conservative. Other ads called polls predicting a “blue wave” in the 2018 elections “unreliable” and downplayed the election’s importance.
The misleading ads collectively garnered millions of impressions on Facebook, TheDCNF’s review of Facebook’s archives found. -Daily Caller
What the Caller discovered is that AET's 2018 meddling efforts went further than previously known "in attempting to mislead American voters for the purpose of swinging an election." In one ad campaign designed to convince GOP voters that the Democrats weren't a threat, AET suggested that the Democrat "blue wave" was nothing more than a myth, and that polls showing Democrats leading were "unreliable."
In another campaign aimed to frustrate Republican voters, AET pushed the narrative that congressional GOP were betraying "real conservatives," while in another campaign, the Democratic operatives wrote that: "Some Trump supporters see midterm losses for congressional republicans [sic] as a wake-up call to get serious on the wall," while another one suggested that "Trump is failing us."
In another ad targeting the midterm elections, AET told voters that "none of this even matters," slamming both sides for "shouting so much."
One series of ads told voters that there were “No good choices” in the midterm elections. Voting for Democrats to send a message “feels like the best option,” the Democratic operatives wrote.
Other ads linked to an article that urged “Semi-Trumpers” to either cross party lines, vote third-party or stay home in November, rather than vote Republican. “Even more true in light of the recent violence,” read the caption. “If you aren’t helping, don’t show up.”
A similar set of ads linked to an article that called for Republican voters to boycott the GOP. The post was captioned: “I hope folks go for this. Seems like the only thing that can save true conservatives.” -Daily Caller
During the 2017 Alabama special election, AET commissioned cybersecurity firm "New Knowledge" - founded by Jonathon Morgan, who created the technology running the infamous "Hamilton 68" propaganda website which purports to track Russian bot activity.
Morgan's firm created over 1,000 Russian language Twitter accounts which supported Republican candidate Roy Moore, then Morgan pointed to his own bots following Moore to imply that he was a Russian stooge.
When called out in December, Morgan suggested that his "false flag" operation was simply research.
Disinformation warrior @jonathonmorgan attempts to control damage by lying. He now claims the “false flag operation” never took place and the botnet he promoted as Russian-linked (based on phony Hamilton68 Russian troll tracker he developed) wasn’t Russian https://t.co/N4EEjz49mB pic.twitter.com/qfNcVIRQsD— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) December 29, 2018
Hoffman has since apologized, while Morgan was suspended by Facebook for "coordinated inauthentic" behavior.