In 2016 Election Russian Facebook Ads Called Trump ‘Only Viable Option’
Facebook is shaping up as the zero hour of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Just Security:
“How Facebook Could Crack the Trump-Russia Case.”
“Facebook should be treated like a crime scene. The social media company likely has troves of data that could provide critical leads for the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”
There are just this morning about a dozen different stories on how Russia used Facebook:
1. To build up Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders-after Bernie had endorsed Hillary.
2. To sow discord by impersonating an actual Muslim-American organization.
3. Indeed, right now Russian troll farms are focused on: the NFL. Russian Internet trolls stoked the whole NFL furor.
And-we now have a story that Russia also directed endorsed Trump in Facebook ads.
NEW: Russian Facebook ads called Trump the ‘only viable option’ in 2016 election https://t.co/69n8gJyIAm
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) September 28, 2017
“Several anti-immigrant messages with an explicit pro-Trump slant are included among the 3,000 pieces of Russian-linked political content Facebook plans to turn over to Congressional investigators, ABC News has learned.”
“Posts that circulated to a targeted, swing-state audience on the social media site railed against illegal immigrants and claimed “the only viable option is to elect Trump.” They were shared by what looked like a grassroots American group called Secured Borders, but Congressional investigators say the group is actually a Russian fabrication designed to influence American voters during and after the presidential election.”
“Their goal was to spread dissension, was to split our country apart, and they did a pretty good job,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“Facebook told Congressional investigators about a series of posts from a group calling itself “Secured Borders,” which had the look of a grassroots American, anti-immigrant organization. Many of the group’s posts, retrieved from online archives by ABC News, include pointed, pro-Trump messages.”
“How dare they accuse Donald Trump of racism and sexism just because he’s concerned about the well-being of Americans??” read one using an image of actor Jack Nicholson, dated Oct. 19. “If wanting to remove criminal alien scum from our streets is raciest and deplorable, then by all means count me in that basket!”
A major part of Russia’s method is to seek to empower the most extreme voices of both Left and Right, though in the end to the benefit of the Right. So they also had an ad declaring Jill Stein the ‘candidate of peace.’
They had fake Black Lives Matter ads calling Hillary Clinton a racist. Remember a big part of the Trump campaign’s ‘get out the vote’ effort was to make sure a lot of people on the other side didn’t get out to vote.
Nor did the ads stop after the election.
“The posts didn’t stop following Trump’s victory, with one from December using an image of Trump dressed as Santa Claus saying “Remember about this stupid PC idea to forbid people from saying ‘Merry Christmas’, instead forcing them to say ‘happy holidays’. … I say come Christmas 2017, a YUGE Nativity scene should occupy the lawn of 1600 Penn Ave!”
Then there are the troll farms:
“At the root of the challenge are so-called “troll farms” where workers sit in rows of tables and create online profiles that push divisive messages, all aimed at sowing discord. Facebook told Congressional investigators about one operation that was especially busy during the 2016 campaign, a St. Petersburg-based firm called the Internet Research Agency.”
“In an interview with ABC News, Lyudmila Savchuk, who worked for the company in 2015 to expose what the factory was doing, described how young Russians posed as Americans, working 12 hour shifts at the company’s headquarters posting comments on American political issues selected by their bosses. Facebook, she said, was one of their primary platforms.”
“Troll factory is a very appropriate name for it because it really is a large-scale production that works around the clock, and they don’t take time off for holidays, lunch nor sleep,” she said. “A huge quantity of content is being produced.”
“Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos said most of the posts generated there did not mention a specific presidential candidate or the election, but focused on “amplifying divisive social and political messages” on immigration, gun rights and LGBT issues.”
“Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist and early investor in Facebook, told ABC News the Russian effort may have started as merely an attempt to sow discontent, but as the campaign unfolded, he said it became clear the effort grew increasingly focused.”
“Classic Russian intelligence techniques of taking the most extreme voices and amplifying them,” he said. “It was the perfect petri dish for this kind of campaign.”
“Warner told ABC News that Facebook had yet to turn over the content to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Based on what the company’s executives shared last week, however, it was already clear that the posts included divisive messages intended to “help one candidate and potentially hurt another.” It clearly appeared, he said, to be part of a broader effort the intelligence community has determined was designed to aid Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.”
One divisive social issue Russia loves to push in every country it interferes in his anti immigrant fervor.
As Sarah Posner says, there is a lot Facebook can tell us about what happened in that election.
P.S. Hello! I’m Mike Sax Democratic candidate for NY2. If you want to ride the Impeachment Train all the way to Washington DC in 2019 then please vote for me, Mike Sax NY2.
And-get it on the t shirt.