Political Advertisements on Facebook were bought by Russia

A Russian firm that generated fake pages and accounts bought $100,000 worth of advertisements throughout the US election this past year, the business said. The ads started running in the summer of 2015, Facebook stated, and also a few of them referenced Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The strategy, which Russians also have used on Twitter, was made to generate internal divisions within the USA. “The huge majority of advertisements run with these accounts did not specifically reference the US presidential elections, voting or a specific candidate,” Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, stated in a blog article.

In total, Facebook discovered about 3,000 suspicious advertisements, which generated $100,000 in earnings, that were conducted between June 2015 and May 2017. The advertisements were attached to about 470 bogus user accounts and webpages, which “were correlated with each other and probably operated from Russia,” Stamos said.

On the flip side, $100,000 doesn’t represent a huge marketing campaign on Facebook. However, Facebook’s revelation offers further proof that Russia tampered with, and also assisted to sway, the US election. In addition, it cuts against CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks from the days following the election, when he explained the concept that bogus news spread on Facebook had impacted the election was “mad.”

Agents of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that the social media has found that it marketed advertisements throughout the U.S. presidential effort to a dark Russian firm trying to target Republicans, according to several people knowledgeable about the firm’s findings.

Facebook officials reported that they tracked the advertisement revenue to some Russian “troll farm” with a focus on pro-Kremlin propaganda.

A small part of the advertisements, which started in the summer of 2015, called Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, various names, even though the reporters declined to say which candidate the advertisements preferred.

The majority of the advertisements, according to a blog article released late Wednesday from Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, “seemed to concentrate on amplifying divisive political and social communications across the ideological spectrum — touching on subjects from LGBT issues to race problems to immigration to military rights.”