Russian trolls have been using bogus Kid Rock social media profiles to spread fake news and pro-Kremlin propaganda

Kid Rock with Donald Trump
(Image credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Self-styled 'American Bad Ass' Kid Rock is one of the favourite celebrities for Russian trolls to impersonate online for the purpose of spreading misinformation to the US public, according to a newly-published research paper.

In the study, titled Bad Reputation: Suspected Russian Actors Leverage Alternative Tech Platforms in Continued Effort to Covertly Influence Right-Wing U.S. Audiences, and conducted by social media tracking firm Graphika and Stanford University's Internet Observatory, the rapper is identified as one of the key figures whose persona is stolen  to disseminate misinformation and pro-Kremlin propaganda on social media platforms Gab, Gettr and the Donald Trump-founded Truth Social.

The paper reads in part: "actors behind this activity use fake personas to pose as members of the community they are attempting to infiltrate and influence. The Kid Rock 'fan page' accounts were by far the most successful in this regard, building a large follower base and reportedly viewed online as genuine Kid Rock accounts. However, we also identified other personas presenting as authentic right-wing users."

According to the study, these fake accounts are not easily detected. Indeed, according to Rolling Stone,  one troll, KidRockOfficial, created a fake Kid Rock fan account that even scored a repost from Donald Trump Jr when the former president’s son (a friend of the real, actual, genuine Kid Rock) shared it with his more than 6 million Instagram followers.

The report notes that these bogus, Russia-directed social media accounts "were first exposed in 2020, again in 2021, and most recently ahead of the 2022 U.S. midterms. Due to an apparent lack of enforcement, the actors have established a degree of persistence unavailable on most mainstream platforms and are able to conduct their operations with relative ease."

Kid Rock, a vocal supporter of former US President Donal Trump - "My feeling – let the motherfucking business guy run [the country] like a fucking business" he said in 2016 - has yet to give his reaction to the study.

The full report can be read here.