World Media

Congress Shares Thousands of Russian Facebook Troll Ads From 2016 Election

Congress Shares Thousands of Russian Facebook Troll Ads From 2016 Election

The American public finally got a glimpse at one of the key tools in the Kremlin's online disinformation arsenal, when on Thursday Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released around 3,400 Facebook ads used by Russian agents to exploit America's ethnic, social and political tensions.

Just one example of a Russian-created Facebook ad used in the run-up to the 2016 election.

"Muslims seem to be not as peace-loving as they say", the text says. Few, if any, support Clinton. Kremlin-funded Internet Research Agency leveraged its network of digital henchmen to blast the ads and other posts to 146 million Americans on the social media platforms, according to Congress and Facebook.

While the effort has been known and some ads identified before, the cache released Thursday provides new understanding and shows how far it went.

Facebook listed various ways it was dealing with the problem, from more ad transparency, verification and using improved technology to spot fake accounts.

In a statement, Facebook said it was improving its policies, including disclosing who paid for them and verifying the purchaser's location.

Google Maps is adding personalised match score for places and more
There will be algorithmically designed "Foodie List" and "Trending this week" lists to show you places you might visit. The company collects so much data from users that they are able to make intelligent predictions about various things.

The ads - which ran on Facebook and Instagram, its popular photo-sharing app - also hit on both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the candidates that ultimately squared off for the presidency.

Looking at the newly-released ads, it was clear that Russian trolls were trying to replicate their success in Idaho. A series of ads posted two days after Trump was elected urge his supporters to show up at Trump Tower in Manhattan to respond to the "massive crowds of libtards" who protested him.

Facebook has said that more than 10 million people in the United States saw the ads, more than half of which ran after the election. At the time, the event had 248 people interested in attending, and 60 people RSVPed. We broke down the numbers behind those posts, including how many clicks they got each month and how much they cost.

This kind of interference has led some lawmakers to call for greater regulation of tech companies.

You can see the ads that the House Democrats released here.

According to an indictment brought by Mueller of 13 Russian operatives earlier this year, the Facebook specialists, pretending to be Americans, took shifts to ensure they posted during the appropriate time zones and circulated lists of USA holidays to stay in the American groove.


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