It has recently been alleged that the "Russia-linked" accounts spent 50,000-150,000 USD on some kind of "politically divisive ads" on Facebook before or around the US presidential elections in November 2016.

Have any such alleged ads been presented to the public - as text, images of video? If so, where can I find them? If not, why not? It's not as if it was a Funniest Joke in the World type situation.

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    In that they were ads on facebook...wouldn't they have all been presented to the public? – user1530 Oct 3 '17 at 18:25
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    @blip: No, twice. 1. Facebook is not a publicly-accessible website, it's private; only registered users can view much/most of the content there. 2. Only some people were - supposedly - exposed to these ads. Plus - I would like to see them now, not know that they were visible to some people in the past. – einpoklum Oct 3 '17 at 18:45
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    Oh...you're asking which ads they were specifically. I'm not sure if that's been made public yet. I think it's just been announced that Facebook is handing the details over to the authorities. – user1530 Oct 3 '17 at 18:55
  • @blip: So that's something that seems very fishy to me: "You won't believe what terrible things we've found those Russians are up to! Horrid, divisive ads! ... but - we can't show any of them to you right now, kthxbye." – einpoklum Oct 4 '17 at 19:03
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    Doesn't seem fishy to me at all. Facebook is helping with a federal investigation. Companies don't typically release evidence to the public as the investigation is underway. – user1530 Oct 4 '17 at 19:20

Members of House Intelligence Committee released some of the Russian FB ads, as reported in November by Fox News as well as WaPo

They were seen by at least 10 million Americans according to Facebook, many of them bought with rubles. They were bought by the Russia based Internet Research Agency with the intention of influencing people with strong feelings about controversial issues.


A post sponsored by Facebook group "Williams&Kalvin" says that “Danney Williams, 30, has been trying since at least 1999 to be acknowledged as the out-of-wedlock son of former President Bill Clinton and a black prostitute in Little Rock, Arkansas.”

Target: Facebook users in New York, ages 18 and older

Impressions: 15,453 users

Clicks: 1,471

Ad spend: 1,126.07 rubles, or approximately $19.30 USD

Ad run: Oct. 18-19, 2016

  • Wait... these are posts, not ads. Also, note the example is not quite representative; there are anti-Clinton, anti-Trump, and just plain weird and out there posts. Anyway, +1 since that's what Facebook published. – einpoklum Dec 3 '17 at 12:06
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    As far as I understand these are paid-for posts, so called promoted or boosted posts. These are in my eyes a more subtle form of advertising, for one because they look native, harder to distinguish from genuine posts. – peetasan Dec 3 '17 at 12:35
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    Ok, fair enough. – einpoklum Dec 3 '17 at 15:13

It appears that most or all of the ads have been removed since facebook located them and they have not been released to the public, however the 3,000+ Kremlin-linked ads are being shared with congress which may result in their eventual release

Here is an example of a post from now-closed Russian created page "Secured Borders"a post from now-closed Russian created page "Secured Borders", notice the poor English. Several others from the page can be found here. Here's an example of a left-wing targeted page.

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    "notice the poor English" = I think that's more indicative of Facebook than Russians specifically. :) – user1530 Oct 3 '17 at 20:46
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    @blip - seems like better English than most Facebook posts by native speakers I've seen. Though my exposure to Facebook is somewhat... limited. – user4012 Oct 3 '17 at 20:54
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    1. This example is a post, not an ad - so nobody saw it unless they looked up this group, or profile (as far as I understand how Facebook works); and no money exchanged hands. So it's another story 2. To be frank, if you just look at the image (ignoring the text) it could pass off as anti-Trump almost as well as pro-Trump. 3. Of course Facebook removed the alleged ads as such, but why are they hiding them from the public? i.e. haven't they uploaded them somewhere, where they will be marked as non-ad suspect material and only be seen by whoever's interested? This is what I can't figure out. – einpoklum Oct 3 '17 at 21:51
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    @einpoklum It isn't clear what exactly the 'ads' in question are yet. It's possible that they could be posts that were paid to be promoted. – indigochild Oct 3 '17 at 23:52
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    @einpoklum Here Yes, they can be seen by people who do not like your page. They also have many kinds of targeting options. All the things you hear about facebook ads apply to promoted posts, because they are are ads. – indigochild Oct 5 '17 at 0:26

TalkingPointsMemo sources a quote from Politico of one of the ads for Jill Stein:

Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. 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 Huffington Post paraphrases a number of items but does not actually quote more than snippets. It does identify a couple sites that it believes posted fake news for Russia.

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    That story you linked to is rather suspect. First, the overall tone seems to follow Mrs. Clinton's accusations leveled against other presidential candidates (whom she and the Democratic Party believe swung the elections in her disfavor) - so the article seems to have a distinct agenda. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the source of that non-quote is a "description" by an unnamed third party. How certain are you that this quote is legit? – einpoklum Oct 3 '17 at 21:57
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    @einpoklum Questioning the legitimacy of an article published by a reporter is akin to just yelling "fake news". Unless this report has a track record of lazy journalistic ethics, there's no reason to believe the quote is not legit. – user1530 Oct 4 '17 at 19:25
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    @blip: Questioning the veracity (not the same thing as legitimacy) with explicit reasons which make one doubt it is not akin to "just yelling "fake news"". In fact you could say it is somewhat the opposite of just yelling. Plus, I was asking for corroboration. – einpoklum Oct 4 '17 at 19:29
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    @einpoklum yes, you're not literally yelling. You are using the same argumentative device. – user1530 Oct 4 '17 at 19:34

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