• 17:26
  • 17.09.2019
Facebook ads show Russia cyber intrusion
the big reads
17.09.2019

Facebook ads show Russia cyber intrusion

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A trove of Facebook ads made public by Congress depicts Russia's extraordinary cyber intrusion into American life in 2016 aimed at upending the nation's democratic debate and fomenting discord over issues like immigration, gun control and politics.
The ads, seen by vast numbers of people, encouraged street demonstrations against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and fostered support and opposition to Bernie Sanders, Muslims, gays, blacks and the icons of the Civil Rights movement.
The few dozen ads, a small sampling of the roughly 3,000 Russia-connected ones that Facebook has identified and turned over to Congress, were released amid two consecutive days of tough and sometimes caustic questioning by House and Senate lawmakers about why social media giants hadn't done more to combat Russian interference on their sites.
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The ads underscore how foreign agents sought to sow confusion, anger and discord among Americans through messages on hot-button topics.
US intelligence services say the Russian use of social media was part of a broad effort to sway the 2016 presidential election in favour of Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Kremlin worked with the Trump campaign to influence voters.
Many of the ads show careful targeting, with messages geared toward particular audiences. One ad, aimed at those with an interest in civil rights and their leaders, highlights a man who claims to be Bill Clinton's illegitimate son. Another video parodying Trump was targeted at blacks who also are interested in BlackNews.com, HuffPost Politics or HuffPost Black Voices.
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Though officials at Facebook and other social media giants were initially reluctant to acknowledge Russian success on their sites in swaying popular opinion, company leaders have struck a different tone in recent weeks and disclosed steps to Congress they say are intended to prevent future meddling by foreign agents.
In preparation for hearings this week, Facebook disclosed that content generated by a Russian group, the Internet Research Agency, potentially reached as many as 126 million users.
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