Democrats trying to defeat Roy Moore created fake online campaign: report

Democrats in Alabama created a deceptive online campaign in 2017 meant to help defeat Republican Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreHillicon Valley: Dem blasts groups behind Senate campaign disinformation effort | FCC chief declines to give briefing on location-data sales | Ocasio-Cortez tops lawmakers on social media | Trump officials to ease drone rules Domestic influence campaigns borrow from Russia’s playbook Jones asks federal officials to investigate misinformation campaign tactics in Alabama Senate race MORE in a special election, The New York Times reported Monday. 

The "Dry Alabama" campaign reportedly featured a Facebook page and a Twitter account suggesting that Moore supported a statewide ban on alcohol.

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The campaign is the second revelation of a disinformation campaign used by Democrats in the special election, according to the Times. The newspaper reported last month that New Knowledge, a cybersecurity research firm, used social media posts to spread disinformation in the race.

Both campaigns were reportedly modeled after the disinformation campaign carried out by Russia on social media ahead of the 2016 presidential election, a campaign that aimed to help then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE defeat Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms Special counsel issues rare statement disputing explosive Cohen report MORE.

Each of the disinformation campaigns in Alabama received $100,000 from Investing in Us, a group that supports progressive political causes, according to the Times.

Matt Osborne, a progressive activist who worked on the "Dry Alabama" campaign, told the newspaper that Democrats had no choice but to use disinformation if they wanted to level the playing field with Republicans.

“If you don’t do it, you’re fighting with one hand tied behind your back,” Osborne said. “You have a moral imperative to do this — to do whatever it takes.”

Moore lost the special election to Democrat Doug Jones, who is serving the remainder of the term that ends in 2021. The special election was triggered after former Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known MORE (R-Ala.) left his post to serve as attorney general.

Jones last month condemned the first disinformation campaign that was revealed by the Times and called for an investigation.