Congress releases all 3000-plus Facebook ads bought by Russians

Congress releases all 3000-plus Facebook ads bought by Russians

Congress releases all 3000-plus Facebook ads bought by Russians

A trove of thousands of Russian-backed Facebook ads, being made public for the first time, shows that Russia's main goal was provoking discontent in the USA, leading to and continuing beyond Donald Trump's election in 2016.

House Democrats released more than 3,500 Russian-bought Facebook FB ads Thursday.

Numerous political ads were published under Facebook pages with names such as "Brown United Front", "Woke Blacks" and "Being Patriotic", which pretended to be activist groups.

Many of them didn't get much attention. Together, these ads cost 8,700 rubles, or $140, and gathered almost 27,000 impressions.

Schiff said releasing the ads is part of the committees' pledge last fall to share more information about Russia's social influence campaign.

Nationally, more than 11.4 million Americans were exposed to the ads.

Thursday's report, compiled and provided by Facebook and the House committee, includes visuals of all 3,000 original ads as well as the associated metadata selected by the IRA, the Russia-linked organization that has been found to be the source of the ads and other propaganda efforts.

"There's no question that Russian Federation sought to weaponize social media platforms to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election", said a statement on Thursday from Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

"They did this by creating fake accounts, pages and communities to push divisive online content and videos, and to mobilize real Americans, unwittingly, to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests", he continued. "Russian Federation sought to divide us by our race, by our country of origin, by our religion, and by our political party". For that reason the Russian effort has been called a campaign of mass trolling.

The pile of social media evidence was released as some states have already held primaries for this year's midterm elections, amid warnings that electoral systems haven't been sufficiently safeguarded.

The page doesn't appear to have picked up more than a few hundred likes, according to the records released on Thursday.

One post from October 2016, depicting Clinton with a clown nose, promises that by liking the "Clinton FRAUDation" page you'll learn "everything you wanted to know about Clinton's dark side". Together, the ads affirmed the fears of some lawmakers, including Republicans, that Russian agents have continued to try to influence US politics even after the 2016 election. That same account, days later, crafted an open letter in another ad that accused Clinton of failing to support Muslims before the election.

Back in September 2017, Facebook supplied US Congress with dossier of ads placed on its platform during a two-year period beginning in April 2015.

"Join the event, bring your friends feel safe with us!" read the ad, which targeted people living within 25 miles of Tampa.

Related news