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Fiery exchanges as politicians scold Facebook, Google and Twitter

02 November, 2017, 00:38 | Author: Lydia Fleming
  • One sentence from the Senate's social media hearing should petrify Google, Facebook and Twitter

As part of hearings into how Russian Federation used social media to influence American opinion, House lawmakers released a handful of Facebook ads linked to the online meddling campaign. Metadata also disclosed shows that ad was paid for at a cost of more than 3,000 rubles, and was targeted toward the LGBT community in Kansas, as well as users who showed interest in Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Twitter told lawmakers on Tuesday it found that almost 37,000 automated "bot" accounts with Russian links generated 1.4 million tweets that were seen by a potential 288 million people in the three months before the November presidential election.

The crisis over Russian-bought ads hasn't slowed down Facebook yet, but it might. Facebook added close to 2,500 people this quarter.

Muslims. Undocumented immigrants. Black Lives Matter activists.

This is one of the Russian Facebook ads meant to stir dissension in the U.S. The ad featured pictures of African-American people shot by police, and contained the message, "Join us because we care". It was targeted to places around the US, including Ferguson, Missouri, the place where one of the people featured in the ad, Michael Brown, lived and died. The pro-Texas page-called Heart of Texas-encouraged its 253,000 followers to gather at an Islamic Center in the city on that day to stop the "Islamization of Texas", while a "United Muslims of America" page, which had 328,000 followers, pushed an event at the same time and place, calling on supporters to "Save Islamic Knowledge".


On the morning after Election Day 2016, the Russian page "Black Matters", which was created to look like a black activist group, began promoting a "Trump is NOT my president" event, to take place at New York City's Union Square. Among those targeted with the ad were those who liked Gun Rights, National Rifle Association and The Second Amendment.

On October 19th, 2016, a meme appearing to show Satan and Jesus Christ arm wrestling was posted on the Russian page "Army of Jesus". And even though Donald Trump isn't a saint by any means, he's at least an honest man and he cares deeply for this country.

InstagramPolitico also has an August 2016 Instagram ad, aimed at "people ages 18 to 65+ interested in military veterans, including those from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars", suggesting that Clinton is insensitive to the grief of Gold Star families.

Among those who were likely to see this ad were Facebook users who had previously liked Laura Ingraham, God, Ron Paul, Christianity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Breitbart, Bible and Mike Huckabee.

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