House Dems release thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russian trolls

11 May, 2018, 04:40 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • House Intel Committee  Facebook

Perhaps the ads and posts poured a little more gas on an already fiery political climate in America.

The lawmakers released more than 3,500 Facebook ads purchased by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian firm with ties to the Kremlin. However, as the Wall Street Journal observes, when it comes to crafting political memes, the Internet Research Agency was curiously inept.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE charged 13 Russian individuals and three Russian groups earlier this year for engaging in "information warfare" during the election, alleging that they had used social media and other sophisticated measures to sow discord in the U.S.

"Join the event, bring your friends feel safe with us!" read the ad, which targeted people living within 25 miles of Tampa. However, this is the largest trove of Russian Facebook advertisements the public has seen to date, which perhaps makes the House Democrats' drop even more significant.

One about Black Lives Matter declared: "Your life matter".

"This is the face of American police!"

An Associated Press review of the thousands of ads and their data shows how precisely - and sometimes randomly - the agency targeted them.

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This, perhaps, amplifies what Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer at Facebook wrote in blog post, published on Facebook's corporate blog back in September 2017.

While it was known that Russian Trolls used social media networks to influence the 2016 Election, a new batch of Facebook ads showcases how extensive it was.

The ads were created to get people to "Like" Russian-created Facebook pages that produced organic content.

The acquisition of documents from Smith's estate is the latest indication that Democrats are continuing their investigation after Republicans released a report that found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump campaign but criticized the intelligence community and actions taken by Trump associates.

Only a handful of the ads had previously been released, including one that sought to energize a pro-Donald Trump "flash mob" in August 2016.

As tempting as it may be to write these people off, the numbers are a little staggering: 126 million people saw Russian disinformation, per Mark Zuckerberg, the ads just released were seen by 33 million, and 3.7 million people clicked them. This peaked in October 2016, December 2016 and February 2017.


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