Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Russia's Dog-Whistle Ads on Facebook. Election Meddling? You Betcha!

More than a few commenters on this blog have dismissed Russia's Facebook ad campaign as a load of hooey, meaningless pap.

To relieve them of their profound ignorance and/or stupidity, I'll invite them to follow this link to today's Washington Post.

Lawmakers on Wednesday released a trove of ads that Russian operatives bought on Facebook, providing the fullest picture yet of how foreign actors sought to promote Republican Donald Trump, denigrate Democrat Hillary Clinton and divide Americans over some of the nation’s most sensitive social issues. 

The ads that emerged, a sampling of the 3,000 that Russians bought during the 2016 presidential campaign and its aftermath, demonstrated in words and images a striking ability to mimic American political discourse at its most fractious. The targeting information also showed a shrewd understanding of how best to use Facebook to find and influence voters most likely to respond to the pitches. 

As a group, the ads made visceral appeals to voters upset about illegal immigration, black political activism, the declining economic fortunes of coal miners, gun ownership, African American political activisms, the rising prominence of Muslims in some U.S. communities and many other issues. Some ads, many of which were bought in Russian rubles, also explicitly called for people to attend political rallies amid a campaign season that already was among the most polarizing in recent U.S. history.

Do yourself a favour and read the whole article. It is stomach churning to see how the Russians played to, and upon, racism, bigotry and every base instinct with which Trump's base is identified. And it worked.


e.a.f. said...

and a lot of other western countries can expect more of the same if they do not take action to prohibit foreign involvement in their elections. it worked so well for Russia, expect China to take up the game also

Toby said...

The US has been meddling in other country's affairs since WWII at least. Does Voice of America ring any bells? It looks like they got a dose of their own medicine.

rumleyfips said...

Not just the US. Look at Brexit, LePin etc.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, Toby, we all know the history of US meddling. That's not the point. This is Russia, a very dangerous country, meddling in the democracy of the United States, a potentially even more dangerous country, to swing the election to a psychologically damaged lunatic. That imperils the entire world. There is no equivalence, no part of America's sordid history, that excuses this. If it was just giving Americans a taste of their own medicine that would be a different matter. It's not. Not even close.

Trailblazer said...

Yes, Toby, we all know the history of US meddling. That's not the point.!!!

Holy shit downplaying the USA's meddling with other nations elections and politics!
Tell that to the Iranians for starters.
Just how many in this world have died because of the USA?
Meddling by computer is no more or less than military takeover or subversion.


Trailblazer said...

AT Toby.
It looks like they got a dose of their own medicine.

Good point but it does not bode well for the future of politics.,
Fake news? Fake elections?
The end result will be paranoia and fewer ,still, will vote or become involved in politics.


The Mound of Sound said...

TB, yes we can all take a long draught of schadenfreude and fuck all good that'll do us. This isn't about "downplaying" past American transgressions. That's bullshit and you know it.

Trailblazer said...

Of note.
RT and the Moon of Alabama are just two websites that have ignored the latest news on Russian meddling!


Troy said...

These accusations of Russian ads on Facebook will probably go down the memory hole too, once all this theatre plays out entirely.

I've looked into it a little, and there's a whole lot of inference and innuendo, but not much citation. It's sensational! and that's about it.

To summarize the news story, Facebook reluctantly gave Congress 3000 ads, which Congress declared as Russian-influenced or affiliated (there's no mention of any methodology (term borrowed from Greenwald) used to determine how the ads were determined as such). However, only some of those 3000 ads are actually Russian in origin. According to Congress' claims, many of these Russian-origin ads are political in nature (again, what's the methodology to determine such?)

The groups and organizations named in the news article, there's not a whole lot out there, except for their own websites, which basically show these are actual groups based in the USA. How they're determined to be Russian-controlled isn't stated.

I did some cursory research into these groups myself, and what I've found is some are defunct: Facebook groups taken down by Facebook. Another's an actual group against police brutality, but it's so grassroots, it's liable to fold at any given moment - a sort of one-person crusade. And the final group is Chinese-based Christian cult. There was one other Facebook group, but I didn't wade into it too deeply, as was filled with posts like one would expect in a Facebook group called Defend the 2nd.

Honestly, like Greenwald, I advocate skepticism in regards to any claims regarding Russia, especially when they're being made by "a new group formed just two (now three) months ago by a union of neocons and Democratic national security officials, led by long-time liars and propagandists such as Bill Kristol, former acting CIA chief Mike Morell, and Bush Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff." (Greenwald)

Alliance for Securing Democracy: (A webpage with many backpfeifengesicht)
Army of Jesus: (Chinese Christian cult)

Northern PoV said...

what Toby said.....

sanam khan said...

As you know, businesses of all sizes right from McDonald’s and Coca-Cola down to your local hardware store are trying to get a presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Think of how many ‘Fan pages’ and advertisements you have seen on Facebook recently for businesses in your local area.

It’s a big thing right now and it’s making people just like you a lot of money.