West-Central Missouri Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler says Russia is exploiting U.S. squabbles through its social media intervention. During a House committee hearing this week, Hartzler spoke about a report that Russian Twitter trolls and robots increased the panic during Mizzou’s 2015 campus protests and elsewhere by putting out fake information tweets and inflammatory statements.
“I think as Americans, we need to wake up,” said Hartzler. “This is what our adversaries are doing across the world, whether it be Russia or China.”
Hartzler, whose district includes Mizzou, said Americans should rally against the new type of warfare the country’s enemies are waging. She described the activity as egging it on.
“It’s like when someone gets in a fight and there’s someone in the back of the room saying ‘Yeah, punch him! He’ll think you’re weak,’” she said.
An Air Force Colonel’s report said the social media account tied to Mizzou’s unrest pretended to be from Columbia but was traced back to Russia.
The anti-racism protests led to the resignations of Mizzou’s president and chancellor and left a mark on the school’s enrollment figures.
Hartzler also chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Brad Tregnago of Missourinet affiliate KSSZ in Columbia contributed to this story.