Today, lawmakers released a sampling of the 3,000 social media ads that Russians bought during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to influence the election. #Roommates, you’ll see that the ads posted by Russian-linked groups were highly sophisticated and aimed to influence voters. They clearly targeted Americans upset about illegal immigration, black political activism, gun ownership and multiple other sensitive political issues… like who was going to be our next president?
According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the “influence campaign was aimed at undermining U.S. democracy and helping Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the election.” The Washington Post reports that the released Facebook advertisements provide “the fullest picture yet of how foreign actors sought to promote Republican Donald Trump, denigrate Democrat Hillary Clinton and divide Americans over some of the nation’s most sensitive social issues.”
Attorneys for Facebook, Twitter and Google testified for the second day in a row today before the Senate Intelligence Committee about their efforts to prevent Russian meddling. All agreed that they could have done better in 2016. Back in September, Facebook revealed that it had discovered more than 3,000 ads which were bought by 470 accounts and pages run by a Russian troll farm. All of the accounts have now been deactivated.
These disinformation-filled posts reportedly reached up to 126 million Americans on Facebook and an estimated 20 million on Instagram.
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Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via @GettyImages