The US Congress have released images of Facebook advertisements that Russia published in order to manipulate their foreign power to spark outrage across the United States of America.
All of the ads appealed to different people of American society, but the majority were to motivate political and racial disputes. The House Intelligence Committee said that they would release all of the ads, which amounted to 3,000 in total. However, instead they’ve shared 25 advertisements which can be linked back to the Russian government.
The ads targeted far left and right groups, in particular black activists, Christians, the LGBT community, gun owners and Muslims. One of the ads called for the “removal of Hillary Clinton from the presidential ballot”, whilst another ad blamed Black Lives Matter for a “gruesome attack on police”.
Facebook has released a statement discussing the amount of money spent on the 3,000 ads. In total, over $100,000 was spent on the ads, which led to up to 10 million people in the US seeing these ads and their content.
Some of the ad pages reached thousands of users; one page called Secure Borders said, “Every man should stand for our borders! Join!” and was labeled as a “news and media” page. The post gained 130,000 likes in total. The posts created by a Kremlin-linked company were intensified by likes, comments and shares, which spread to tens of millions of people.
The Internet Research Agency were able to detect 2,750 Twitter accounts which were all posting the same material; they have now been suspended. The firm also found more than 36,000 Russian bots that generated 1.4 million automated and election-related tweets, which were then viewed more than 288 million times.
Since the detection of the pages, Facebook has since shut down the suspect accounts and are still trying to recovers many images and posts that have been shared across the Internet. Facebook are expecting 20,000 people to be working on safety and security for the site by the end of 2018.