What is the modus operandi of these Russian troll farms?
The idea is pretty simple: By imitating “normal Americans” and then espousing radical and extreme ideas, they were convincing real normal americans that those radical and extreme ideas were “normal american” ideas.
The idea was to drive people farther towards their fringe elements. If you were left of center, they wanted you to see prejudice, sexism and racism in everything and everyone. Right of center, they wanted you to see America “under attack from all sides” by Muslims, Liberals, whatever. If you’re black, they wanted to convince you the problem is white people. If you’re white, they wanted to convince you the problem was black people. They wanted to create more extremists, thereby destabalizing the nation.
This was elaborated in their military manual The Foundations of Geopolitics :
Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics”.