Do you remember seeing any of these advertisements on Facebook last year?
Facebook said at least $100,000 was spent for this purpose, a mere fraction of its political advertising during the 2016 campaign.
This week, we learned an even greater extent to which Russia went to disseminate ads intended to turn the American electorate against itself.
On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee released a sample of Facebook ads the Russian government-affiliated Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg troll farm, purchased about issues like immigration, religion, and race, for and against presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.
Also included in the release was a document containing every Twitter account handle tied to the troll farm.
More than 11 million people between 2015 and 2017 viewed the ads.
You were probably one of them.
According Facebook, the Russian company’s content was served to as many as 150 million people on its platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. It is not clear how many actually saw the content, though.
An example of such an ad was a page titled “Donald Trump America,” which called for “disqualification and removal of Hillary Clinton from the presidential ballot.”
The $240 ad appeared Facebook users’ feeds almost 35,000 times and was clicked on 6,000 times.
Some ads were purported to have come from Black Lives Matter, like this one:
Others opposed Black Lives Matter, such as:
The following ad was created for audiences living in Washington, DC interested in Hillary Clinton or the Muslim Brotherhood:
Some blended anti-Clinton sentiments with religion, like:
Others were just “religious:”
Image credit: Facebook
Even “Bernie Bros” were targeted.
The following ad “Born Liberal” posted received 1,938 impressions and 222 clicks:
The following by “LBGT United” resulted in 848 impressions and 54 clicks:
The day after election day, the page “Black Matters” advertised a “Trump is NOT my president” event in New York City’s Union Square.
Guns, God. They were all right there for us to “like” and share as the election melee ensued.
No wonder we were at each other’s throats.
And the investigation is not even over yet.
No doubt we will see more as congressional committees uncover troves of evidence about how Russia decided this election for us by infiltrating our tastes, interests, and biases.
Image credit: money.cnn.com