US Democrats release 3500 Russian Facebook ads

  • US Democrats release 3500 Russian Facebook ads

US Democrats release 3500 Russian Facebook ads

The Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency created 470 Facebook pages, which made "80,000 pieces of organic content" seen by more than 126 million Americans.

One ad targets African Americans specifically, telling them it doesn't matter who they vote for, that nothing will change for them.

But while numerous posts mastered American vitriol and slang, calling Democratic supporters "libtards" in one instance, others had sentences with peculiar grammar.

With few exceptions, the ads focus on issues that divide Americans, from gun rights to immigration to racial justice.

One about Black Lives Matter declared: "Your life matter". It seems Black Matters was a prolific poster, but then you can find anti-Muslim sentiment spread on the IRA page "Hearts of Texas".

The ads, turned over to the panel by Facebook, cover a time period from early 2015 through mid-2017.

Although the majority of the ads were posted before the election, the Russians kept running them afterward, a sign of what intelligence agencies say is Moscow's ongoing attempt to meddle in USA politics.

Looking at the newly-released ads, it was clear that Russian trolls were trying to replicate their success in Idaho. But the same ad got 163 clicks when targeted at those interested in Syria, the Republican Party or politics.

The documents released Thursday also reflect that Russian agents continued advertising on Facebook well after the presidential election. Facebook has been hiring more people to work on election security, indicating that they think it will be a long-term issue, like spam and hacking, that requires constant vigilance. Under fire from Congress, the social media giant has pledged improvements to its ad policies and enforcement.

The Internet Research Agency is one of the organizations charged by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as part of the criminal investigation into Russian political interference and possible Trump campaign complicity.

In the meantime, Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said lawmakers would continue probing Russia's online disinformation efforts.

The company says it has been on the lookout for threats and working to make election ads more transparent, by designating them as political, for example. A series of ads posted two days after Trump was elected urge his supporters to show up at Trump Tower in Manhattan to respond to the "massive crowds of libtards" who protested him.