House Democrats just released a trove of data, metadata, Facebook ads, and Twitter accounts run out of the Kremlin's troll farm. A team of reporters at Daily Beast reports on how ads were created by people working for the Russian government's cyberwar arm, and literally paid for in rubles with no questions asked by Facebook.
Yep, even of those Dank Bernie Memes you shared were Russian.
Russian ads like the ones shown here came from…
…dozens of inflammatory Facebook and Twitter ads from Kremlin-backed fake social media accounts, including several The Daily Beast has already identified, with names like "Being Patriotic," "Secured Borders," and "United Muslims of America." They were released on Wednesday, along with accompanying metadata showing their Russian provenance, not by the companies themselves, but by Democrats on the House intelligence community investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Taken together, the ads and the metadata provide a deeper picture than previously known of one aspect of Russia's so-called "active measures" disinformation campaign. Hundreds of millions of Americans – nearly 150 million, Facebook acknowledged on Wednesday – didn't realize online political material they were seeing and sharing came from a foreign adversary. But the Russians, capitalizing on social-media targeting tools made possible by accumulated data from billions of users, knew a tremendous amount about their unsuspecting American audience.
"Russia exploited real vulnerabilities that exist across online platforms and we must identify, expose, and defend ourselves against similar covert influence operations in the future," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said during a hearing on Wednesday with executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google.
And don't forget Instagram! Russian content appeared there, and may too have influenced voting choices.
Millions of Americans exposed to Russian content on Instagram, Facebook says https://t.co/DCfy53TFVK
— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) November 1, 2017
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) November 1, 2017
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) November 1, 2017
— Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) November 1, 2017
One of the Russia-linked ads targeted at LGBT Americans: "You can color your own Bernie hero." pic.twitter.com/1DVvA2gWsq
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) November 1, 2017
this Russian-bought ad presented without comment (except to say it's a Russian-bought ad) pic.twitter.com/X4Atha4fil
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) November 1, 2017
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) November 1, 2017