Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
IT&Software | By Alfonso Woods

House Democrats release over 3500 Russian Facebook ads

House Democrats release over 3500 Russian Facebook ads

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released thousands of divisive ads created by the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-backed organization that targeted American voters on Facebook and Instagram around the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, which is one of several congressional panels investigating Russian influence in the election, released a sampling of the ads past year but made a decision to disclose the entire collection "so that Americans can begin to understand how Russia used social media to influence the 2016 election, and to divide us". Previously, the committee released less than 100 Facebook ads.

In addition, the political ads were often dressed up in provocative memes to draw support from their intended audience.

The summaries include details on what pages an ad posted on, whom the trolls were targeting, how many people saw the ad, how many people clicked on it and how long it was active.

The ads were purchased and displayed on Facebook from the middle of 2015 to the middle of 2017.

Among other efforts to curb bad actors, Facebook is focusing on greater ad transparency, verification and labeling, intelligence sharing with governments, and specific actions against Russian operatives.

While it was known that Russian Trolls used social media networks to influence the 2016 Election, a new batch of Facebook ads showcases how extensive it was. "My life matter. Black matters". The indictment was part of Mueller's larger investigation into Russian intervention in the election and whether Trump's campaign was involved. The recent documents also show how Russians trolls continued to influence American politics after the 2016 Election with propaganda.

How Will Social Media Respond?

On Thursday morning, it released every single purchased ad.

A series of ads running two days after Trump was elected called on his backers to head to Trump Tower to oppose "massive crowds of libtards" who had gathered in Manhattan. It targets people within 50 miles of New York City and provides the street address.

The social media giant estimated that the Russian ads reached about 10 million users in the United States. Facebook has made it easier to see the origins of ads, is forcing buyers to be more transparent about who they are and has worked to find more fake accounts, among other changes.

"The only way we can begin to inoculate ourselves against a future attack is to see first-hand the types of messages, themes and imagery the Russians used to divide us", Schiff said.

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