Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Facebook Says Some Russian Ads During 2016 US Campaign Promoted Live Events

Facebook Says Some Russian Ads During 2016 US Campaign Promoted Live Events

Apparently, a known Russian front company managed to use "Facebook's event management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the USA, including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho", which were promoted using ads paid for by the same network of fake accounts.

Although the notice-like numerous ads referenced by Facebook last week-didn't associate itself with any particular politician, it borrowed themes familiar from then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign.

Facebook told the outlet it had "shut down several promoted events" as part of its "takedown" of 470 Russia-linked accounts that spread propaganda last week.

Now, The Daily Beast says Facebook has confirmed that at least some of these ads were used to promote the anti-immigrant agenda. One such event was an August 2016 rally held in Twin Falls, Idaho, a rural town that's been accepting refugees for decades.

"We must stop taking in Muslim refugees!" the description warned.

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The rally was hosted by a Facebook group called "Secured Borders", which was a Russian front and is now suspended, according to The Daily Beast. Although the August 27 rally in Idaho has been deleted (along with numerous other meet-ups), The Daily Beast did manage to identify it from search engine caches. But Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election also went beyond ad impressions, with evidence that Kremlin operatives sought to organize conservative protests in the US via Facebook.

He added that he has been frustrated with Facebook's limited disclosures on Kremlin-linked groups exploiting its platform to influence U.S. politics and the 2016 elections.

It remains unclear how many people actually showed up to that particular event-the Facebook event page lists four people as having attended. But, the Russian rabbit hole goes even deeper than the $100,000 spent on deceptive ads. "Releasing those advertisements could allow the country to better understand the nature and extent of foreign interference with our democracy".

Facebook said in response to the letter: "Federal law and ongoing investigations limit what we can share publicly", Reuters reported.

As Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including whether Moscow was assisted by any members of Donald Trump's campaign, Facebook has come under increased scrutiny for the role it played in amplifying Kremlin disinformation.

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