It is now concluded, without a doubt, that Kremlin-connected operatives paid Facebook to target American citizens with fake news during last year’s election. Whether this news was in the form of doctored images, blatant lies, or links to articles which were found at fake news websites, investigators now have been able to confirm that a “troll factory” calling themselves the Internet Research Agency, based in St. Petersburg, Russia, was behind much of this deception. They have also directly tied this agency to the Russian government.
Up until this point, few examples of such ads were made available by either Facebook or U.S. investigators, however a journalist named Casey Michel, who has been tracking Russia’s social media influence for years, has just revealed new information.
According to Michel, one of the major Facebook pages operated by the Internet Research Agency was one called ‘Heart of Texas’. This page frequently shared misleading content with close to 250,000 people who follow it, including images, fake news links and flat out lies. Below are screen captures of just a handful of the false and misleading ads they had shared, looking to demonize Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. elections.
In addition to attacking Clinton, while boosting Trump’s image, this account also tried to sow discourse by posting pro-Confederate memes, Anti-Muslim rhetoric and multiple other images and attacks on specific groups, both in the United States and abroad.
This was just one of multiple pages present on Facebook, which investigators can link to the Internet Research Agency. In fact, Facebook has estimated that such content was seen by at least 10 million Americans around the time of the elections last November. The ‘Heart of Texas’ page was just one of the 470 such pages and user accounts that Facebook turned over data for to Congress earlier this month.
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