Earlier this month, Facebook confirmed that a troll farm tied to the Russian government had purchased $100,000 worth of political Facebook ads during the 2016 presidential election. After initially refusing to provide copies of the roughly 3,000 ads to Congressional investigators — only allowing Congress to view the ads briefly — the company eventually relented last week.
It appears we are now getting a look at some of the advertisements that were being pushed out to Facebook users during the election. In a new report by CNN, one Facebook ad that the Russian purchased was a Black Lives Matter one that targeted the areas of Ferguson and Baltimore, where racial tensions have been high in recent years due to police violence against unarmed black men.
Facebook had previously stated that roughly one-quarter of the Russian-bought political ads were targeted to specific geographical areas. However, they wouldn’t reveal which areas, or demographic groups, had been targeted.
Based on descriptions of ads that were purchased by the troll farm, the larger goal seemed to be to create an environment of political chaos and divisiveness ahead of the election. Most of the ads weren’t so much about supporting a specific candidate as much as they were about amplifying divisive political and cultural topics, such as BLM, gun rights, and immigration.
[image via Shutterstock]
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