Watch Out! 3,519 Troll Factory Ads Used in Facebook Before 2016 Elections In US Released – Check How It Looks Like

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Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee just released every single Russian-sponsored Facebook ads used to troll the 2016 U.S. election, totaling more than 3,000, from 2015 to late 2017.

Gotcha, trolls

As Nexter.org reported earlier this week, the Democratic Party members of the Intelligence Committee of the US House of Representatives were aiming to release 3,000 Facebook ads that were allegedly funded by Russia-linked entities.

For more than a year, we’ve heard that Russian-based troll farms used Facebook groups and targeted ads to influence the 2016 election. Finally, Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee dropped a data dump of 3,500 examples of ads were used despite Facebook has declined to release it to the public.

Democrats needed some time to determine what and how many users data will be retracted ahead of the release.

The ads, promoted during the run-up to Election Day, were a coordinated attempt by Russia’s Internet Research Agency — known colloquially as Russia’s “Troll Factory” — to sow division among Americans on Facebook.

Those efforts led Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress last month and contributed to changing how the company approaches “fake news” and ads on the site. In April, Facebook also announced the deletion of 70 Russian Facebook accounts and 138 pages.

What were the posts like?

House Democrats divided the ads into nine categories: events, African-American focused, immigration, the Second Amendment, heart of Texas, LGBT, Muslims, veterans, and candidates. The report details the cost of each post and how many people viewed them.

However, not all ads were aimed to promote their political candidate but to boost the pages’ presence on Facebook and gather a following.  For example, one post by “L for life” writes, “Such a beautiful day! Such a beautiful view!” with a picture of what appears to be the Los Angeles skyline.

Altogether, Russian trolls reportedly spent around $100,000 to reach 11.4 million American Facebook users with the more than 3,0000 ads through 470 Facebook pages, according to the House Intelligence Committee. But the Internet Research Agency didn’t have to pay for all the posts. The group put up another 80,000 organic posts that were still viewed by more than 126 million Americans.

Here are some examples of the ads below:

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Source: House Intelligence Committee/Facebook

The Heart of Texas was such a popular group controlled by the IRA that House Democrats gave it an entire category. The URL for the group was “TimeToSecede,” and the group often called for Texas to split from the United States.

This ad was targeted to Facebook users in Texas and received 36,702 views. More than 3,800 people clicked on it, and Russian trolls spent 31,104 rubles on it, or $502.

russian-troll-factory-photo

Source: House Intelligence Committee/Facebook

Russian operatives saw gay activism as a divisive issue in the US and capitalized on it with their ads.

This ad was targeted to Facebook users in Texa and received 86 clicks. More than 580 people saw it, and it cost 250 rubles, or $4.04.

russian-troll-factory-photo

Source: House Intelligence Committee/Facebook

With the IRA’s Muslim-focused ads, the campaign played on both sides, supporting both pro-Muslim and anti-Muslim perspectives.

This ad ran for one day, from November 23, 2015 to November 24, 2015. It received no views or clicks.

russian-troll-factory-photo

Source: House Intelligence Committee/Facebook

Russia-backed operatives set up events in the hopes of bringing conflict and confrontation in real life.

This ad was posted on August 31, 2016, and ended on September 10, 2016. It received no clicks or impressions.

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Source: House Intelligence Committee/Facebook

This ad was posted by Black Matters, one of the largest groups controlled by the Russia-backed Internet Research Agency. This sponsored post targeted people who were interested in Martin Luther King Jr., African-American Civil Rights Movement, African-American history, Malcolm X or the color black.

It received 7,945 views, with 1,283 people clicking it. The ad cost 400 rubles, or $6.45.

russian-troll-factory-photo

Source: House Intelligence Committee/Facebook

Gun control was another major topic that Russian operatives targeted. This ad, featuring a photo of Clint Eastwood, was targeted to conservatives likely to engage with political content.

The ad was seen by 162 people, and 33 people clicked on it. The ad cost 97.64 rubles, or $1.58.


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Whatch Out! 3,519 Troll Factory Ads Used in Facebook Before 2016 Elections Were Released - Check How It looks Like
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Whatch Out! 3,519 Troll Factory Ads Used in Facebook Before 2016 Were Released - Check How It looks Like
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Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee just released every single Russian-sponsored Facebook ad used to troll the 2016 U.S. election, totaling more than 3,000, from 2015 to late 2017.
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