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‘Amateur’: Advertisers size up the Russian-linked Facebook ads

May 11, 2018 / Kerry Flynn

Want to start a movement? Buy an Instagram ad featuring Beyoncé with the text, “Stop the white privilege by participating in a PRO-Beyonce Rally! Support Queen B!” The cost: 1,467.39 Russian rubles (about $24), along with the integrity of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The House Intelligence Committee published on May 10 more than 3,300 Facebook and Instagram ads linked to Kremlin-connected Internet Research Agency. The file is the largest publicly available look of Russian manipulation of Facebook since the social network admitted it sold at least $100,000 in political ads to the IRA in September 2016. Compiled by Facebook and the House Intelligence Committee, the data includes the creative, ad targeting, ad impressions, ad clicks, ad spend and creation date. With this new information, media buyers said they were intrigued by the precision of the targeting and scale of the topics. Buyers said the ads were quite amateur, which is in part the beauty but also the...