Russia-Linked Account Was Behind Fake Hillary Clinton Sex Video, Reddit Says

A Reddit account that posted a video falsely claiming to show former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton engaged in a sex act has been traced back to Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA), Reddit revealed on Tuesday. 

The user, who went by the name Rubinjer, was the Russia-linked agency's most popular account on Reddit, before it was shut down by the site, according to an NBC News report.

The IRA, a St. Petersburg-based "troll farm" known for posting divisive political content, had published a post on Reddit's largest Trump-supporting community r/The_Donald called "This is how Hillary gets black votes," with links to an animated gif of the fake porn video. 

0703reddit Reddit said on Tuesday that an account that posted a pornographic video that falsely claimed to show former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been linked to a Russian troll farm. ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS

The fake sex tape was posted at least five times to PornHub, where it was viewed more than 250,000 times, according to NBC. It was also published on another porn site. 

A whistleblower from the IRA had previously told Russia's TV Rain that the troll farm had created a fake porn video of Clinton. The former employee, Alan Baskaev, said the troll farm sought to create racial discord by publishing such material. 

Reddit said on Tuesday that Rubinjer was among 944 accounts that were banned for "suspected Russian Internet Research Agency origin." The accounts had previously not been identified by the website. 

The aggregation site's admission comes in the wake of Reddit CEO Steve Huffman's vow that the company would do its "best to identify and remove" state-sponsored disinformation. 

The promise came after the Daily Beast revealed that the website was allegedly targeted by the IRA to troll the 2016 election.

Four of Rubinjer's top ten posts reportedly mock Clinton on r/TheDonald. The Reddit user also promoted an anti-Clinton video game called "Hilltendo," which CNN recently revealed was produced by the IRA, in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Huffman said on Tuesday "there were a number of signals" suggesting that accounts were connected to the IRA, including "suspicious creation patterns, usage patterns (account sharing), voting collaboration, etc.” 

He said the company "also corroborated our findings with public lists from other companies," such as Twitter. 

Politicians have praised Reddit for its transparency, with Democratic U.S. Representative for California's 28th congressional district Adam Schiff writing on Twitter that the "decision by Reddit to expose Russian IRA-controlled accounts and activity on its platform is the right move."

"The best way Americans can protect themselves in the future is to see how Russians sought to use our own platforms against us to sow discord," he added.