We know that Russians bought political ads on Facebook and federal government officials suspect that they were intended to influence the 2016 election. It seems that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was a definite beneficiary of one of the Russian bought ads.
There were other advertisements that were paid for by Russian buyers that both criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some of the ads supported Bernie Sanders and kept running even after his campaign ended.
The ad that supported Jill Stein read, “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.”
Several of the ads seemed to question Clinton’s authenticity, but there is no proof that Stein, Sanders or Trump were aware of the advertisements.
Facebook has not commented on anything specific to the advertisements but gave this statement: “The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the U.S. presidential election or voting for a particular candidate. Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”
U.S. officials are now investigating whether 3,000 ads purchased on Facebook by an Internet Research Agency linked to the Kremlin were a part of a larger Russian government plan to influence the 2016 election. The social network has estimated that the total cost of the ads was $150,000.
Clinton wrote in her recent book, “What Happened,” that even Stein’s low vote totals in several swing states “may well have thrown the election to Trump.” Clinton also noted that Stein had joined Michael Flynn at Vladimir Putin’s table for dinner in December of 2014. She also stated that the leftist candidate “praised [Trump’s] pro-Russia stance,” though she does not accuse Stein of collaborating with the Kremlin.
Other ads purchased on Facebook echoed the same themes in the Trump campaign including advocating tough laws on illegal immigration. Many of the 3,000 Russian-bought advertisements Facebook has identified were filled with poor grammar and spelling and contained outlandish assertions, according to one source.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the Democratic vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said earlier this month that the 3,000 ads that Facebook has determined to have Russian links may be “the tip of the iceberg” and part of a far larger Kremlin plot to influence the 2016 election through Facebook and other social media platforms.
Do you agree with this?