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Russian Meddling in North Carolina Politics, or Cialis Spam?

By Aric Toler

North Carolina congressional candidate Linda Coleman made national headlines last week when her campaign discovered that an old domain used for a previous election — LindaForNC.com — was hijacked by a Russian. Coleman saw political motives behind the incident, calling the “tampering” an “underhanded and deceptive” move. A number of local and national news articles about the incident brought up the ongoing “Russiagate” scandal, regarding Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, along with how the so-called “St. Petersburg Troll Factory” (Internet Research Agency) organized political rallies in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2016.

However, even a cursory look at the materials surrounding this “Russian meddling” reveals that Coleman’s site was scooped up by a domain squatter who sells erectile dysfunction pills online, and there is no reason to believe that there was any political motive to the changes to Coleman’s old campaign site.

LindaForNC.com

What can comparing older, archived versions of Linda Coleman’s campaign site with the current, hijacked version tell us about how the site was rebuilt to resemble its older form?

Linda Coleman’s election site before 2017 was for her bid to become Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, which she lost to Republican Dan Forest. By accessing the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (you can find more information on how to find, retrieve, and save archived materials in our guide here), we can view a timeline of the site “LindaForNC.com.” In November 2016, the site had no irregularities: (click image for full size)

LindaForNC.com in November 2016 (archive)

However, in January 2017, a few things changed. For one, the font and general appearance of the text is different, including with alternating bold and regular fonts with some text. Additionally, in the hijacked version of the site, the Facebook and Twitter share buttons are gone, the “Issues” segment has been …read more

From:: Bellingcat

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