Lawmakers Release Russian Facebook Ads

A Facebook ad linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process released by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee in February

Full Stock of Russia-Linked Facebook Ads Shows How Propaganda Sharpened

Altogether, the Russian trolls spent up to $100,000 on all the ads.

"We gave these ads to Congress so they could better understand the extent of Russian interference in the last USA presidential election", said Facebook.

When buying ads for the pages Black Matters and Don't Shoot, the troll farm exclusively targeted four American cities: Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Ferguson, Missouri.

The Russian agents manipulated Facebook features to target specific users, aiming messages at people who identified as patriotic, feminist, or who expressed interest in certain publications or websites that provided a clue to their political standing.

Schiff shared a number of examples of the ads on Twitter, tweeting, "Russia sought to weaponize social media to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election".

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However, the contract was for a year, the source told Reuters, meaning AT&T likely paid more than $200,000 to Cohen's company. In the memo, Avenatti alleged AT&T's were among multiple payments Essential Consultants received after the 2016 election.

In addition, the political ads were often dressed up in provocative memes to draw support from their intended audience. Panel Democrats said they appeared on Facebook and Instagram. The company's strategy includes transparency on what other ads an organization is running, as well as where they've been spending money, identity verification, reviewing targeting criteria, taking action to take care of fake news, more investment in security and more.

House Democrats released more than 3,500 Russian-bought Facebook ads Thursday. See a sampling below.

"We were too slow to spot this type of information operations interference", Facebook said in a blog post following the ads' release. Russia's Internet Research Agency was behind tens of thousands of posts on Facebook designed to create political chaos and hurt us democracy, lawmakers said. These ads will also clearly state who paid for them.

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 will never be a solved problem because we're up against determined, creative and well-funded adversaries", Facebook conceded.

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