Facebook admitted Wednesday that
The ads, aimed at American voters, ran between June 2015 and May 2017,
“Our analysis suggests these accounts and pages were affiliated
A Facebook official told TheWrap the accounts were traced to a Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency, known for pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda.
The Russian-linked firm bought $100,000 worth of digital ads. Another $50,000 went to about 2,200 accounts with U.S. IP addresses but with the language set to Russian.
The ads are part of an attack Facebook calls “information operations,” which the company
The announcement by Facebook could spark further speculation about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential race and the Trump campaign’s possible collusion
Earlier this year Time reported that U.S. intelligence officials have found that Moscow’s agents bought ads on Facebook to target specific populations and had evidence that Russia was using algorithmic techniques to target the social media accounts of particular reporters. A Facebook official told Time the company had “no evidence of that occurring.”
As TheWrap reported in November, Trump’s campaign may have used targeted Facebook ads and innocent-seeming quizzes in the weeks before the presidential election to identify Hillary Clinton voters and discourage them from showing up at the polls.
The project, headed by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, was a carefully orchestrated campaign apparatus that included a San Antonio marketing entrepreneur and social media whizz who built web pages for the Trump family’s business, and Cambridge Analytica, a data firm which had previously worked on the Brexit campaign and is backed by Robert Mercer, the billionaire benefactor behind Breitbart and Trump’s biggest donor.
That venture is now under investigation. In July, McClatchy reported that investigators were looking into whether the campaign’s digital operation, run by Jared Kushner, “guided Russian cyber operatives to specific jurisdictions in key states where support for Clinton was weak.”