House Democrats release over 3500 Russian Facebook ads

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The ads show how easy it was for trolls to ape activist causes to rile up Americans.

On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee released the ads, which reached over 11.4 million Americans in what federal investigators say was part of a Russian attempt to interfere with United States democracy.

"They sought to harness Americans' very real frustrations and anger over sensitive political matters in order to influence American thinking, voting and behavior", said Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee's top Democrat, in a statement.

While a limited number of ads had been released previously, the new cache reveals a scale and scope previously unseen. "This was accomplished by engaging in online communities built around common interests and that appeared organic and American, but were actually run by a troll farm in St. Petersburg", Schiff continued. The people purchasing the ads were often specific in where they wanted the ads to run and whom they wanted to target, usually based on political views or racial identity.

Just one example of a Russian-created Facebook ad used in the run-up to the 2016 election. The company's strategy includes transparency on what other ads an organization is running, as well as where they've been spending money, identity verification, reviewing targeting criteria, taking action to take care of fake news, more investment in security and more.

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Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee early Thursday released 3,000 Facebook ads Kremlin operatives created as part of an effort to spread propaganda across social media during the 2016 election.

According to the committee, there were 3,393 advertisements purchased, which were seen by more than 11.4 million Americans.

"We were too slow to spot this type of information operations interference", Facebook said in a blog post following the ads' release.

Zuckerberg told Congress that the Internet Research Agency reached 126 million people via Facebook and 20 million people via Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, with its divisive content. "This will never be a solved problem because we're up against determined, creative and well-funded adversaries, " it added.

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