"Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election”, Facebook, fake accounts, fake news, Hillary devil, Instagram, Internet Research Agency, IRA, junk news, Mueller, Mueller Indictment, Russian backed pages, Social Media hearings, Troll Farm, twitter, US House Intel Committee
The files are extremely slow to load, so we posted one made public earlier – https://democrats-intelligence.house.gov/facebook-ads/social-media-advertisements.htm
US Congressman “Schiff Statement on Release of Facebook Advertisements
Washington, May 10, 2018
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff, the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, made the following statement after releasing Kremlin-linked Facebook advertisements used during the 2016 election by the Internet Research Agency:
“Last year, the bipartisan leaders of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation made a commitment to the American people to publicly release the Facebook advertisements used by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency, so that Americans can begin to understand how Russia used social media to influence the 2016 election, and to divide us. Today, the Committee’s Minority is fulfilling that promise.
“There’s no question that Russia sought to weaponize social media platforms to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election. They did this by creating fake accounts, pages and communities to push divisive online content and videos, and to mobilize real Americans, unwittingly, to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests. Russia sought to divide us by our race, by our country of origin, by our religion, and by our political party. They attempted to hijack legitimate events meant to do good – teaching self-defense, providing legal aid – in support of their malign object. They sought to harness Americans’ very real frustrations and anger over sensitive political matters in order to influence American thinking, voting and behavior. This was accomplished by engaging in online communities built around common interests and that appeared organic and American, but were actually run by a troll farm in St. Petersburg.
“Since our open hearing in November 2017, we have worked closely with Facebook to ensure that the American people can see the full extent of Russia’s malign use of social media. The only way we can begin to inoculate ourselves against a future attack is to see first-hand the types of messages, themes and imagery the Russians used to divide us. Facebook worked with us to ensure this information became public, redacting an appropriate amount of personally identifiable information to protect legitimate users and children, and giving advance notice to users whose events were unwittingly promoted by the IRA. Ultimately, by exposing these advertisements, we hope to better protect legitimate political expression and discussions and better safeguard Americans from having their information ecosystem polluted by foreign adversaries.
“We will continue to work with Facebook and other tech companies to expose additional content, advertisements, and information as our investigation progresses.”
Exposing Russia’s Effort to Sow Discord Online: The Internet Research Agency and Advertisements
On February 16, 2018 Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian organizations for engaging in operations to interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes, including the 2016 presidential election. This was a significant step forward in exposing a surreptitious social media campaign and holding accountable those responsible for this attack. The indictment spells out in exhaustive detail the breadth and systematic nature of this conspiracy, dating back to 2014, as well as the multiple ways in which Russian actors misused online platforms to carry out their clandestine operations.
Throughout the indictment, Mueller lays out important facts about the activities of the Internet Research Agency (IRA)—the notorious Russian “troll” farm—and its operatives:
“Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants’ means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016.”
The indictment also notes that the IRA:
“[H]ad a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton. Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.”
Additionally, in their October 2016 joint attribution statement, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence laid out the Intelligence Community’s assessment that senior Russian government officials had directed a hacking-and-dumping campaign to interfere in the November 2016 U.S. election. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2016/10/07/joint-statement-department-homeland-security-and-office-director-national
In its subsequent Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) in January 2017, the Intelligence Community further documented Moscow’s interference in our election and its efforts to assist Donald Trump’s campaign and harm Hillary Clinton’s. https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf
According to the ICA:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
The ICA also assesses that:
“Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
Putin and the Russian government, the ICA explained:
“[A]spired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”
The tools to carry out this covert operation were multifaceted, according to the Assessment:
“Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.”
As explained in our Minority Views, the House Intelligence Committee Minority affirmed the ICA’s findings following a review of extensive classified and unclassified evidence in the course of the investigation, including significant information discovered since the release of the ICA in January 2017. https://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180322/108023/HRPT-115-2.pdf
The House Intelligence Committee Minority has worked to expose the Kremlin’s exploitation of social media networks since the ICA was first published, highlighting this issue for the American public during an open hearing with social media companies in November 2017. The Committee Minority also released a list of Twitter accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency and a representative sampling of Facebook ads paid for by the group. https://democrats-intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/exhibit_b.pdf. https://democrats-intelligence.house.gov/hpsci-11-1/hpsci-minority-open-hearing-exhibits.htm
Throughout our investigation, the Committee Minority has sought to make available to the public advertisements, accounts and information related to the IRA because of our strong belief that sunlight is the best disinfectant against any future attempts to weaken our democracy or interfere in our free and fair elections process. Moreover, Congress does not have the technical expertise to fully analyze this data—that lies in outside groups such as news publications and academic researchers. We hope that the publication of these materials will facilitate this important work.
As Ranking Member Adam Schiff stated during the Committee’s November 2017 open hearing with senior officials from Facebook, Twitter, and Google:
“[The Russian] social media campaign was designed to further a broader Kremlin objective: sowing discord in the U.S. by inflaming passions on a range of divisive issues. The Russians did so by weaving together fake accounts, pages, and communities to push politicized content and videos, and to mobilize real Americans to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests. Russia exploited real vulnerabilities that exist across online platforms and we must identify, expose, and defend ourselves against similar covert influence operations in the future. The companies here today must play a central role as we seek to better protect legitimate political expression, while preventing cyberspace from being misused by our adversaries.”
As part of that continuing effort to educate the public and seek additional analysis, the Committee Minority is making available all IRA advertisements identified by Facebook. This is an effort to be fully transparent with the public, allow outside experts to analyze the data, and provide the American people a fuller accounting of Russian efforts to sow discord and interfere in our democracy.
As part of the Committee’s open hearing with social media companies in November 2017, the Minority used a number of advertisements as exhibits, and made others available as part of a small representative sampling.
During the hearing, Committee Members noted the breadth of activity by the IRA on Facebook:
* 3,393 advertisements purchased (a total 3,519 advertisements total were released after more were identified by the company);
* More than 11.4 million American users exposed to those advertisements;
* 470 IRA-created Facebook pages;
* 80,000 pieces of organic content created by those pages; and
* Exposure of organic content to more than 126 million Americans.
The Facebook advertisements we are publishing today have been carefully reviewed by the Committee Minority and redacted by Facebook to protect personally-identifiable information (PII). To protect innocent victims, Facebook—at the urging of the Committee Minority—also has notified users whose genuine online events were unwittingly promoted by the IRA.
The data made available today does not include the 80,000 pieces of organic content shared on Facebook by the IRA. We expect to make this content public in the future.
Advertisements from 2015, 2016 and 2017 can be found here.”
Emphasis our own.