Russia Bought Facebook Ads Supporting Donald Trump – and Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders for President

 
 

'Choose Peace and Vote for Jill Stein' One Ad Said

Donald Trump was not the only beneficiary of Facebook ads bought by the Russians in an attempt to swing the election his way. Ads were bought supporting Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and Bernie Sanders - even after Hillary Clinton had already become the Democratic Party's nominee.

"Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein," the one ad for Jill Stein ad read, according to Politico. "Trust me. It's not a wasted vote. ... The only way to take our country back is to stop voting for the corporations and banks that own us. #GrowaSpineVoteJillStein."

The Russians bought 3000 ads that we know about so far, spending about $150,000. Those ads could have reached up to 70 million voters, a Facebook ad expert says. There very well could be others, too, as Democratic Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner suggests, calling this batch "the tip of the iceberg."

"Their aim was to sow chaos," Sen. Warner told The Washington Post. "In many ­cases, it was more about voter suppression rather than increasing turnout."

The Russian ad campaign, according to The Post, "shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign."

Russia started out trying to diminish Americans' trust in our electoral system. The Facebook fake news ads reflect that initial goal.

"The ads show a complicated effort that didn't necessarily hew to promoting Trump and bashing Clinton," Politico reports. "Instead, they show a desire to create divisions while sometimes praising Trump, Sanders and Stein. A number of the ads seemed to question Clinton's authenticity and tout some of the liberal criticisms of her candidacy."

One researcher told the Post that in areas "where Democratic primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders had beaten Clinton ... the disinformation pushed by the Russians included messages designed to reinforce the idea that Sanders had been mistreated by the Democratic Party and that his supporters shouldn't bother to vote during the general election in November."

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