Russian Facebook Ads Targeted Key Swing States

CNN reports:

A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump’s victory last November, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

Some of the Russian ads appeared highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal, two of the sources said. The ads employed a series of divisive messages aimed at breaking through the clutter of campaign ads online, including promoting anti-Muslim messages, sources said.

It has been unclear until now exactly which regions of the country were targeted by the ads. And while one source said that a large number of ads appeared in areas of the country that were not heavily contested in the elections, some clearly were geared at swaying public opinion in the most heavily contested battlegrounds.

Michigan saw the closest presidential contest in the country — Trump beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by about 10,700 votes out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast. Wisconsin was also one of the tightest states, and Trump won there by only about 22,700 votes. Both states, which Trump carried by less than 1%, were key to his victory in the Electoral College.

There’s much more at the link.

  • FloBear

    If this had happened anywhere else in the world, the US would be demanding a new election.

    • Frostbite

      And the GOP, in charge, will never do this because it would mean giving up their ill-acquired power. So all these investigations are toothless to actually do anything in the end.

    • Or the US would have swung the election itself and/or replaced it with who they wanted to be head of state.

  • Mark Née Fuzz

    It’s amazes me that people take what they see on facebook with anything more than a grain of salt. If it’s on the internet, it must be true. Not so much.

    • Michael McReavy

      Perhaps the appeal is not only that it’s on the internet but the fact that the story is novel. People feel special if they think they know something others don’t. And once a person has taken up some belief, no matter how silly, it’s hard to admit error and put it down. Also, these stories were tailored to fit in with and reinforce people’s prejudices.

    • Uncle Mark

      When you have propaganda outlets, like FOX introducing false narratives and creating/exploiting biases, all it takes are a few other stories appearing on Facebook that already appeal to those preconceived notions to make people believers, who will somehow feel informed as they are now getting the same story from several other sources. (Many will not bother to investigate the legitimacy of the news source.). Many of these “news” stories come through links of friends and family, who often share some of the same biases, views & values

      It’s not too dissimilar to the olden days when you might have received emailed “news” from friends and relatives, and the stories were often updated urban legends or other mythical stories. Most people never bother to check out the legitimacy of them, since it’s assumed that your friends/family have already vetted these before sharing.

    • The_Wretched

      Human brains are funny things. We think by having chains of electo-chemical reactions along neurons. Once you’ve had a thought, it’s physically easier to have the same thought. the more you have the same thought, the more it’s reinforced. you can see some folks stuck in mental ruts – their brains have a hard time getting out of their regular thoughts.

      Propaganda and advertising largely do work even as people know they are false or try to discount what they see. the ‘not’ part of a sentence is just one part and tends to get lost or not weighted as strongly as it should.

      One example, the tobacco companies used to do ‘stop smoking’ PSAs. The voice over was clear – Do not smoke but the rich visuals were cute teens puffing away and having a ton of friends. The companies knew those worked to get teens to smoke.

    • danolgb

      I’m watching my lefty friends passing around right-wing conspiracies on the Vegas shooting right now. It’s like the 2016 Primaries all over again.

  • A day or two after the election, someone at WorldNetDaily posted, “Thank God for the Russians.” I wish I had taken a screen shot, but I didn’t.

  • bkmn

    I wish I could say I was surprised.

  • DaddyRay

    They need to release these ads so the public can see them. It may help identify them next time so we can call them out.

    • Joe in PA

      DaddyRay…was it you that told me about House of Cards BBC edition? I’m half way through part 2. That. Man. Is. Evil. And I CRINGE whenever he takes a woman to bed. Ugh, just ugh. But a great show, thanks.

      • DaddyRay

        No I wasn’t but that sounds interesting – now I have to check it out

        • Joe in PA

          The guy makes Francis Underwood (the American version of House of Cards) actually seem LIKABLE. 🙂

          Oh, and it might have been Billbear…you bears all look alike. 🙂

  • j.martindale

    Just a coincidence, I am sure.

  • netxtown

    Well crap. Now I’m gonna have to spend the rest of the day getting the ‘no shit’ look off my face. I’ll start with some Ponds Cold Cream…and work my way up to a stiff wire grinder.

    • Mark Née Fuzz

      Give up. I’ve tried Janitor-in-a-drum and a good stiff brush to no avail. It’s hopeless.

      • Bluto

        Try a St Andrews cross & a riding crop. That will change your janitor’s attitude.

  • barrixines

    The Trumpanzees don’t care. They won, get over it, America is great again. It’s a cognitive step way beyond their ken, to grasp that the only reason they did win is because Russia thinks they are utter fuckwits liable to destroy the US. As with Brexit, as with anywhere else the Russians have intervened. It’s quite astonishing how proud of themselves they are to have been validated by Russia.

    • They would be saying “The ends justify the means” if they could understand the meaning of that…

  • Gustav2

    Remember folks, the Russians were gathering voter registration roll data, not attacking the vote tallying systems.

    Did they use that info for targeting?

  • whollyfool

    If you haven’t caught Preet Bharara’ s podcast, it’s excellent…. His last guest was former chief of staff for Robert Mueller.

    http://www.npr.org/podcasts/551791730/stay-tuned-with-preet

    • Joe in PA

      Thanks for the reminder, I added him when he first started…and then FORGOT to listen. 🙁

  • crewman

    My concern is that the GOP never tries to improve our election security, because the right-wing dictatorship primarily doing the hacking (at this point) entirely favors them. They benefit from turning a blind eye or denying the problem exists.

    • Uncle Mark

      The GOP’s conundrum is that if they acknowledge that the Russians hacked the election, then the legitimacy of the Presidency as well as the Republican dominance of Congress is called into question. If they are complicit (and we know they are), then any investigation will destroy the party, let alone any power they hold.

      Yet, if they choose not to investigate how the Russians hacked us and fail to put safeguards in place, the Russians can just as easily fuck the GOP over next time.

  • Bluto

    Step 1: Cut off all diplomatic, economic & societal ties with those fuckers, seize all Russian assets in this country & kick every son of bitch with Russian citizenship out. The time for playing nice is over.
    Step 2: Round up the American collaborators who enabled or condone this & bring back the gallows. I’m fucking serious, I want to see the traitors swinging on the National Mall.
    Step 3: Pass a truth in media law with severe penalty. I’m ok with more gallows.
    Step 4: Dissolve the federal government, start over. Get the fucking money out of elections. No Hillary, no current politicians.

    Step 5: Free tacos & beer for all.
    Step 6: Enjoy a sane, productive & peaceful existence.
    (There’s room for more steps, such as people telling the black folk how they’re allowed to protest get a cattle prod to the groin)

    • Gerry Fisher

      Just to the groin?

  • tbj5

    When this all comes out, we’ll see the undeniable proof that Team Trump and Russia used stolen voter data and worked together to microtarget American voters. While the former was being paid millions by the latter for the promise of removed sanctions and under the threat of blackmail.

    • TimCA

      I strongly suspect this will be eventually borne out as well if the powers that be continue to dig far enough.

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    I need to keep restating, this was / is an act of war. War committed with the collaboration of Americans. Cyberwar is just as legitimate as wars fought with tanks and bombs.

    The fact that the administration is not doing anything to protect our elections and the basic foundations of our democracy is a massive failure of the most basic obligations of governance. They have committed treason and deserve the full consequences for their actions.

    The entire Republican party who is largely silent and enabling this ongoing occupation by a corrupt and treasonous administration is complicit and should be tried under RICO statutes.

    • Uncle Mark

      The problem is that when the criminal party is in charge, who is going to insure that the laws are carry out ?

      • Skokieguy [Larry]

        That is the prime issue. I have said for some time that we need to beg the UN to intervene and monitor future elections. With the US as a member, will that happen?

        If the Supreme Court rules against gerrymandering, it may increase the chance that politicians voters select actually make it into office.

        • Uncle Mark

          I can just hear Idiot & Qweef, the GOP, and the Deplorables scream bloody murder about the “loss of our sovereignty” if we call in the UN to monitor our elections. Twitler will use that to call his deplorables to arms.

          • Skokieguy [Larry]

            Yes, because fairness and accuracy in our elections must be resisted with 2nd amendment remedies…!

      • Ann Kah

        The GOP has done its worst in trying to restrict voting opportunities for those that they don’t think will support them. There’s no need to enforce a law when you can just change a law instead.

  • JustDucky

    The only way to prevent this from ever happening again is to completely ban all political advertising. As a side effect, this would remove the need for most of the money in politics and would allow us to easily publicly fund our elections.

    So of course it will never happen.

    • Ann Kah

      As another side effect, it would be a great relief to those of us in a swing state. Months on end of endless robocalls, sneering accusations against the opponents every time I turn on the TV, and the neighborhood plastered with signs… I’d be delighted to miss that.

      Or there’s the British way: a few short weeks for a campaign instead of a year and a half.

    • James

      Also, the American election cycle is ridiculously long. It should be shortened by law.

    • -M-

      And all the campaigning needs to be done in public and in the campaign’s name.

  • gaycuckhubby

    Now the question is did Trump’s team feed this information to the Russians. I’m a political novice at best, and I know what the swing states are. So it’s reasonable that a highly sophisticated intelligence operation in Russia it would be able to figure it out too. I don’t think this is a clear example of collusion, yet! But we might get there

    • ChrisMorley

      Neither tRump nor the Russians need to “do” anything, all that’s needed is someone has to pay the bills for facebook advertising to subvert the election.

      His name is Mercer. Software analysing ‘Likes’ etc., will then find and target the people to influence.

      ‘Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media
      – With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the
      rightwing US computer scientist is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar
      propaganda network’
      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage

    • Uncle Mark

      That’s why those investigating this are looking at Jared, They know the Russians hacked the voter information, but lack the understanding and nuances of the processes involved in the campaigns and voting processes. For that, they needed Americans willing to guide them through it…and the Trump campaign proudly advertised Jared as their social media/tech guy in this election campaign.

  • Treant

    Of course. Now just tell me that Detroit’s machines were finagled with, votes were discarded, and so on. Same with Milwaukee. Because you know that’s coming.

    • OdieDenCO

      it never happened.
      ok, it happened but no votes were changed.
      ok, votes were changed but it didn’t affect the election.

      ….

  • OdieDenCO

    drink your tea putin and do the world a favor

    • Paul

      There’s a few people involved in all of this who are currently shitting themselves. Why do you think Assange refuses to leave the Embassy? 😉

  • joe ho

    How Putin played the far-left into voting against its own interests. Susan Sarandon, Dave Sirota & Co. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-putin-played-the-far-left?source=twitter&via=desktop

    • I love dim sum

      I was completely against voting for Hillary long before her supporters made up this fake Russia narrative. But go ahead and blame people that prefer evidence over propaganda, like Susan Sarandon.

      Hillary would have been more destructive than Trump if she were elected.

      Oh, and your Daily Beast article is an ‘opinion’ piece, meaning it’s little more than a paid Correct the Record hit piece. LOL, the writer Casey Michel, the only thing he writes about ever is Russia/Putin conspiracies. He’s really on par with Alex Jones.

      • joe ho

        lol. fake russian narrative confirmed by intelligence communities here and abroad.

        you are too stupid to be allowed to vote–just like slurandon.

        yeah. hillary would have been stacking the federal judiciary with far-right wing heritage foundation picks that will be ruling against progressive change for 30 years.

        crawl up putin-loving jill stein’s skirt with the rest of the far-left self-destructive imbeciles.
        then delete yourself. that’s how you can make the world a better place.

        • I love dim sum

          Sorry to tell you, but I’m going to keep voting Green Party, 2016 was the first time I did so because I finally was fed up with the Democratic party. “Slurandon”…..good grief, you Hillary supporters can’t use logic or reason, just schoolyard-grade ad hominems. If you are gonna do that, learn how to insult better than ‘putin-loving jill stein’s skirt’, you sound like a Republican.

          Hillary’s judiciary picks were just as corporatist and right-wing as anything Trump has come up with, so your argument is weak there.

          Oh, and theres no confirmation of ‘fake russian narrative’, it’s been a year now since the DNC started bandying about the red scare dreck, and all it’s been it rumormongering, and ‘anonymous sources say Russia did it’. Hillary lost because she’s utter garbage, Russia had nothing to do with it.

          • joe ho

            lol. You’re the one who’s infantile, narcissistic and immune to evidence and logic. And you lie–just like the lowest Trumpanzee. You, like Slurandon and Jillbot, don’t deserve to smell Hillary’s shit. Delete yourself.

          • I love dim sum

            See, again, you have nothing but ad hominems, this is why I started voting Green Party, because Hillary supporters like you are truly on the level of Republicans now.

          • joe ho

            lol. In a binary system voting for a leftist third party is the same thing as voting for the right. You’re too stupid to understand that–just like Slurandon and the other Che Guevara wannabes who undermine real, progressive change. Delete yourself.

          • I love dim sum

            OK, now you are just cutting and pasting responses…..please come up with some new insults, at the very least. And ‘delete yourself’ sounds cringy and silly.

            And again, you are wrong, a third party vote is a vote for that party. I’ll never vote Democratic again, since they are nothing but a second Republican party, there is no difference between the two.

          • joe ho

            lol.

            You’ve established yourself here as a liar. No one will believe anything you say again.

            And–like most Green Party imbeciles–irremediably stupid. Casting a vote for someone with a near 0 chance of winning in a binary system where presidential races are almost always close–is a foolish waste of a vote. But then you have shown yourself to be a total fool.

          • I love dim sum

            I’ve done nothing but offer evidence, which Hillary supporters like you are allergic to, I’ll never support candidates that say Henry Kissenger is their mentor (Hillary did say that), that they would rig elections in Palestine (Hillary said that too), called black kids “Superpredators that need to be brought to heel” (Hillary said that), and was anti marriage equality (until 3 years ago).

            All of these are easily sourced facts that prove she is a Republican pretending to be on the left.

            Oh, and it’s spelled ‘irredeemably’ stupid, you might want to work on your spelling before you start casting aspersions on other people’s intelligence.

  • JWC

    Trump , the noose is tughtening

  • I love dim sum

    Um, I think Hillary lost Wisconsin and Michigan more because she was way too vain and full of herself to ever set foot once in those states.

    She spent $1.3 billion dollars to lose against the biggest loser of a Republican, but all it took were a few ads on Facebook (which nobody looks at anyway)? No, Hillary lost because she’s a toxic narcissist, not because of these neo-mcarthyist red scare conspiracy theories that sound like they came from an Alex Jones show.

    • joe ho

      lol. Except that she did campaign in Michigan during the general election campaign.

      You’re so full of shit–like all the other self-destructive lying, weasly, far-left losers who sabotage real, progressive change and are proud of it.

      Delete yourself, you worthless fucktard.

      • I love dim sum

        Wrong, she didn’t campaign at all in Michigan, she apparently thought she was too above that.

        The only people that are self destructive are Hillary supporters. She was against marriage equality until 3 years ago. As a gay man, I’m never going to vote for that.

        • joe ho

          lol. She campaigned in Michigan Nov. 7. And important surrogates campaigned there throughout the campaign.

          Delete yourself. You’re a lying, worthless, self-hating, self-destructive piece of shit–doing your best to make sure that progressive change in this country is constantly undermined. Purity tests don’t work.

          https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/clintons-ground-game-didnt-cost-her-the-election/

          • I love dim sum

            The only people that are worried about purity tests are people that know they will fail the test miserably. So actually, yes purity tests do work very well, despite your generic Correct the Record talking points.

            How amusing that you link to a 538 article, Nate Silver’s career should be over, since he said Hillary had an 85% chance of winning back in November.

            Again, its you who are self hating since you support a woman who was fully against marriage equality until 3 years ago.

            I come with reciepts, all you come with is bile and elementary-school grade insults.

          • joe ho

            lol. You come with fraudulent receipts–lie upon lie. Clinton & Co. DID campaign in MI. 538 predicted she would win pop vote by about 3% which she did. He gave her a 70% chance of winning the EC. 50% is a coin toss. He cautioned against excessive optimism. No slam dunk.

            All you and the Slurandon, Che wannabe slimeballs do is lie, and lie, and lie. You might as well be working for the GOP and Putin. You serve their interests anyway.

            Politicians evolve on issues. You would have rejected JFK because it took him a while to evolve on civil rights. You’re living in a childish, fantasy world–which in the world of politics makes you a self-destructive, self-defeating chump.

            The US is not going to turn into a Brocialist workers’ paradise.

            Delete yourself. You’re a total waste of space. Now that would help make the world a greener place. You are the ultimate pollution fouling everything you touch with your poisonous far-left ideology.

            You are why we can’t have nice things.

            You are disgusting.

          • I love dim sum

            Sorry, I’m not ever going to ‘delete myself’ (whatever that is supposed to mean)…..Your aggressiveness and hyperbolic aversion to the truth is why the Democratic party is in terminal decline, and why people like me are leaving for 3rd parties in droves. And sorry, but Nate Silver proved he was a total fraud last November, I clearly remember him saying Hillary had an 85% chance of winning. Keep backpedalling though.

            Oh and nice strawman tactics with ‘Brocialist workers’ paradise’, nobody is arguing for that (except for Correct the Record shills)

          • joe ho

            lol.

            You’re the one who has an aversion to the truth. You’re a compulsive liar just like the Trump catatrophe your foolish, self-destructive behavior put into office.

            You’re a disgusting piece of filth.

      • TimCA

        I love dim sum is an internet troll. It’ll allege all sorts of things but refuses to ever back them up. I’ve just concluded a multi-day back and forth with this disingenuous poster. It’s a waste of time to seriously engage it.

  • JCF

    “Some of the Russian ads appeared highly sophisticated in their targeting
    of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be
    pivotal, two of the sources said”

    Collusion anyone?