The accounts, created primarily on Facebook, are then used to “send friend requests to the relatively small community of veteran advocates and connect with its prominent members who work to shape federal policy,” according to the report.
One key finding of the report was that foreign actors have created fake social media accounts purporting to be American veterans who work at veterans organizations.
VVA described the interference as a “persistent, pervasive, and coordinated online targeting” of veterans and service members. It found that the Russian Internet Research Agency bought more than 100 advertisements in order to target followers of veterans groups both during and after the 2016 election and that foreign entities based primarily out of West Africa have been stealing the identities of service members, mostly those killed in action, to target Americans with scams.
The study’s findings, first reported by CNN, were the result of a two-year investigation by Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), a nonprofit group that focuses on promoting the rights of veterans.
A study published Tuesday found that foreign entities have been targeting American veterans, service members and their families through social media disinformation campaigns and identity theft with the goal of “disrupting American democracy.”