Russia-linked Facebook ads show targeting

Randall Craig
November 2, 2017

The number of daily Facebook users is 1.37 billion.

Democrats and Republicans both said the tech companies need to do more to police against foreign government abuse on their platforms.

Silicon Valley giants faced aggressive grillings by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees Wednesday over the role their platforms have inadvertently played in Russia's meddling in US politics. Though the small number of ads made public make it hard to confirm that the ads are a "representative sampling", as Democrats on the committee claim, those released shore up reporting about Russia's efforts to stoke American voters' fears of their Muslim, black and Latino neighbors.

Although one lawmaker, Rep. Adam Schiff, described the ads as a "representative sample" of the broader cache of Facebook ads, the decision to release only a small subset of the trove of ads seemed to walk back a pledge from members of the House.

Tech firms tried to draw attention to work that they were doing to improve and crack down on malicious foreign actors but were shot down in many cases by lawmakers who called their work to vague. It was targeted to places around the USA, including Ferguson, Missouri, the place where one of the people featured in the ad, Michael Brown, lived and died.

Among those who were likely to see this ad were Facebook users who had previously liked Laura Ingraham, God, Ron Paul, Christianity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Breitbart, Bible and Mike Huckabee.

Republicans like Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio unveils bill to strengthen security at Cuban airports Dem senator calls on Congress to oppose Trump's pick for NASA chief Jeff Flake knows the GOP is in trouble, and so does the base MORE (R-Fla.) argued that Russian misinformation was meant to create general division between segments of the US population.

To gain more views, the pages bought ads on Facebook promoting the event.

Another pair of ads focused on undocumented Latino immigration.

"You created these platforms and now they are being misused". It targeted Facebook users who liked human rights, African-American culture or Malcolm X. The post accompanying the image read in part, "Hillary is a Satan".

Most likely to see the post: those interested in Donald Trump, Donald Trump for President, or Donald Trump Jr.

If so, you were likely being targeted by the Russia-backed ads that have been in the news lately.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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