Congress Releases 3,000 Russian Ads Found on Facebook
Marty Swant | May 10, 2018
Members of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee have released thousands of Russia-linked Facebook ads, providing a closer look at how outside actors used the platform during the 2016 presidential election and who they targeted. While it’s been more than six months since Facebook and other social platforms including Google and Twitter revealed they had found evidence of Russian interference, the more than 3,000 ads released today by House Democrats show specifics about the ad buys. The data about the ads includes the text, the targeting parameters—location, age range, placements and interest graph—and total impressions. Each file also showed total ad spend, along with the date each ad was created and when it stopped running. The ads, bought by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA), date back to 2015 and seem to have targeted users with a vast array of interests and demographics. For example, one bought in August 2017 was about U.S. border security, targeting people who identified as “very conservative” and that liked a variety of conservative-leaning pages. Another that included the text “Bernie For President!” was targeted at adults who expressed interest in liberalism or libertarianism. Others focused on controversial issues rather than candidates.