More Evidence Of Russian Facebook Ads Surface In Congressional Probe (Video)

Do you remember seeing any of these advertisements on Facebook last year?

Image credit: Facebook/Democratic House members

Last month, news broke about evidence confirming Russian buyers used Facebook advertising as propaganda leading up to the last year’s presidential election.

In response, Facebook presented Congress 3,000 Russian-purchased ads through 470 phony pages and accounts intended to exploit America’s racial divisions, like this one:

Image credit: The Verge

Facebook said at least $100,000 was spent for this purpose, a mere fraction of its political advertising during the 2016 campaign.

Then a week later, in was confirmed Russia used Facebook’s ad targeting system to help President Donald Trump carry Wisconsin and Michigan.

This week, we learned an even greater extent to which Russia went to disseminate ads intended to turn the American electorate against itself.

On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee released a sample of Facebook ads the Russian government-affiliated Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg troll farm, purchased about issues like immigration, religion, and race, for and against presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.

Also included in the release was a document containing every Twitter account handle tied to the troll farm.

More than 11 million people between 2015 and 2017 viewed the ads.

You were probably one of them.

According Facebook, the Russian company’s content was served to as many as 150 million people on its platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. It is not clear how many actually saw the content, though.

An example of such an ad was a page titled “Donald Trump America,” which called for “disqualification and removal of Hillary Clinton from the presidential ballot.”

Image credit: Facebook

The $240 ad appeared Facebook users’ feeds almost 35,000 times and was clicked on 6,000 times.

Some ads were purported to have come from Black Lives Matter, like this one:

Image credit: Facebook

Others opposed Black Lives Matter, such as:

Image credit: Facebook

The following ad was created for audiences living in Washington, DC interested in Hillary Clinton or the Muslim Brotherhood:

Image credit: Facebook

Some blended anti-Clinton sentiments with religion, like:

Image credit: Facebook
Image credit: Facebook

Others were just “religious:”

Image credit: Facebook

Image credit: Facebook

Even “Bernie Bros” were targeted.

The following ad “Born Liberal” posted received 1,938 impressions and 222 clicks:

Image credit: Facebook

The following by “LBGT United” resulted in 848 impressions and 54 clicks:

Image credit: Facebook

The day after election day, the page “Black Matters” advertised a “Trump is NOT my president” event in New York City’s Union Square.

Image credit: Facebook

Guns, God. They were all right there for us to “like” and share as the election melee ensued.

No wonder we were at each other’s throats.

And the investigation is not even over yet.

No doubt we will see more as congressional committees uncover troves of evidence about how Russia decided this election for us by infiltrating our tastes, interests, and biases.

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Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, Liberal Nation Rising, and Medium.