Facebook has estimated that as many as 10 million users saw 3,000 ads purchased by Russian companies in an attempt to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, Reuters reported Oct. 2.
“Most of the ads appear to focus on divisive social and political messages [...] from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights,” the company said.
Facebook said it planned to hire 1,000 moderators to review ads on the social media platform following the congressional investigation into Russian election interference.
“LGBT United,” “Defend the 2nd” and “Secured Borders” engaged readers and tried to incite demonstrations.
Emails turned over to investigators between former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Ukrainian consultant Konstantin Kliminik reveal efforts to impress Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, the Atlantic reported Oct. 2
Manafort asked Kliminik if Deripaska had seen media coverage of his role in the campaign and if this could be leveraged to “to get whole,” or to make up for Manafort’s past bungled investment for the Russian tycoon.
Deripaska’s representatives denied that Manafort owed him any money or that they had any contact before or during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Twitter got a wake-up call when U.S. lawmakers expressed concerns over the company’s failure to take seriously Russian interference in the presidential campaign, the news site Axios reported Sept. 29.
Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee panel to investigate Russia complained that Twitter failed to understand “the threat [interference] poses to democratic institutions.”
RT spent $274,100 on U.S. ads with 1,823 related tweets “definitely or potentially” targeting the U.S. market in 2016, Twitter said Sept. 28, including some by a fake users called “Blactivists” who stoked racial tensions.
On Sept. 27, U.S. House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, asked the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter as well as Alphabet, the parent company of Google, to turn over information on the purchase of ads about “green initiatives”.
Smith, a vocal denier of climate change, and other Republicans on the committee have accused environmental groups of colluding with Russia to restrict fracking, a controversial method of oil and gas extraction.