Goodbye to the rest of my day. Here are all of the Russian ads.
One of the first more successful/costly ads, from 2015. Posts promising "updates" (including one about the Charleston shooting) seem to perform better so far. Also notice targeting- Baltimore, Ferguson, and surrounding.
Nothing like some good old patriotism to generate some clicks 🇺🇸
Just like with RT's cat and tsunami videos, this page was looking to draw people in before delivering more divisive content...
#breaking #RussianAds #Facebook #disinformation
Apparently no one thought this poem was any good, either:
#RussianAds #Facebook #disinformation
I'm into the first month of the 3rd quarter of 2015. So far the issues at hand: #LGBT, #BlackLivesMatter, and good old fashioned "patriotism."
Many of the ads appear to have text lifted straight from news articles and other viral social media posts, especially those about breaking news such as police shootings. #RussianAds
By the 3rd quarter of 2015, the ads disproportionately focus on #BlackLivesMatter, which makes sense given the events of that summer, but is especially interesting when you consider that RT gained a ton of notoriety for their coverage of the movement. #RussianAds
Also, reminder: when considering the small number of impressions on many ads, don't forget that the number of *organic* impressions on the pages' various posts (not to mention posts shared manually) is nearly impossible to find out. #RussianAds
Wow. Don't think we had seen this one before. Cut and dry racism- only 1056 impressions though. #RussianAds #Facebook
cc: @AliVelshi @JesseRodriguez
This dog only got 745 impressions, though, which I think is very unfair. #RussianAds #Facebook
Topical. Reminder: Russia was quite pleased when Trump wripped up the Iran Deal earlier this week.
#JCPOA #IranDeal #RussianAds #Facebook
(Please read in SNL Stefan voice:)
This one has everything! Racism! Homophobia! Confederate symbols! Rainbow flags! (And only 70 ad impressions/7 likes/ 11 comments/5 shares)
There's an interesting study to be done by some enterprising graduate student about why the levels of engagement on the pro #LGBT ads are so much higher than those from the "Being Patriotic" page... #RussianAds #Facebook
$1700 to get over 20k clicks on this ad, which drives people to "like" this page promoting gay rights. #RussianAds #LGBTQ #Facebook
Dying laughing at these #deepthoughts. Now all we need is a bottle of something strong, some black bread, and pickles, and after we finish with our discussion of the roots of human hatred, we can move onto the Russian Soul. 😂 #RussianAds #Facebook
Very poorly performing ad, but gets at the heart of the goal of Russian influence campaigns: trust no one.
(I wrote about mending the trust gap for @PostOpinions @DemocracyPost last year: washingtonpost.com/news/democracy…)
Contest time! For those looking for their 15 mins of fame: get featured on the Being Patriotic page!
12k impressions, 1.3k likes - the type of content that draws users in, makes them feel part of a community, before firing them up about issues like immigration. #Russianads
Conspiracy theory time! Pretty decent engagement on this post about a female UFC fighter and 9/11 truther...
Cost = less than $10. If Facebook had higher ad buy thresholds, would this type of content get weeded out, not boosted?
As time marched on, Russian pages relied less and less on ads to boost engagement. This post cost 3 rubles, had 3 clicks. But the organic engagement on the post itself isn't too shabby. Not viral, but not insignificant. Civil discourse was affected. cc: @benimmo
Sorry y'all! Phone call break! Now sandwich time! And then back to it :)
Check out the shares on this one- if each of those users has an average number of friends, we're looking at over 100k potential impressions. Impressions don't mean much- but then again, neither do talking points that say "ads only reached x thousand people." #RussianAds #Facebook
Another contest - engendering community and encouraging engagement so that users consider responding to more lofty asks, like showing up to a protest IRL.
Interestingly, by October 2015 geographical targeting of African Americans hadn't moved beyond Ferguson, Baltimore, and Cleveland, though IRA did start to target those who liked HuffPost Black Voices / BlackNews.Com. #RussianAds #Facebook
T-13 months until election day, and Hillary Clinton makes her first appearance (unless I am mistaken) on Being Patriotic. "Like if you think Hillary spits on 2nd amendment," the ad implores. 1.9k likes, 600+ shares.
Aha, wider geographical targeting cometh.
(Still no NYC or DC. Bizarre)
For all your patriotic imagery needs.
(Side note: why don't any of these Insta posts have engagement info? @DustinGiebel and I wish it were there).
This very pleasant one about stopping refugees targeted at Germany, France, and UK (a good reminder that we're not the only targets, and that, indeed, Russia has been at this in Europe for much longer than the States):
An example of one of the more poorly done ads:
Who is we? I guess the IRA owned this page? To what country are they organizing immigration? I just... huh? (No targeting besides US and Canada, either)
Oh Hey! It's Williams & Kalvin, the YouTubers paid by Russia. I think it is safe to say this one was a failed experiment.
(Not to be too snarky, but if they wanted a bigger bang for their buck they should have used FB native video 😉)
Who's ready to get turnt about government spending?
This particular ad from Gov Spending sounds eerily familiar to America First...
"Why do we engage in another conflict when we have so many unsolved problems in the U.S?"
It targeted Tea Party Patriots.
Oh hey, I think this is the first IRL protest.
(Interestingly, they use the Russian word for protest - meeting / ˆмитинг," but if users who don't know Russian probably just overlook these idiosyncrasies.
This is odd: the information about the location of the protest/meeting and ad landing page are redacted (presumably because they contain PII of a real person?)
This ad doesn't appear to have actually run (perhaps a test?), but the link was to a Change.Org petition about labeling the KKK a terrorist organization (presumably started by someone else, not an IRA fake) with 66k signatures.
"Like us or die suffering." (That's Russian black humor for you, I guess 😂)
More interestingly- claims to be a humor page (& is targeted at CollegeHumor subscribers), but check out the acct name- Liberty Rising. cc @ScottShaneNYT
Secessionist rhetoric! Tracks with Russian support of separatists across Eastern Europe, in places like Catalonia, and of course, Calexit and Texas secessionists. See @cjcmichel's great work for more.
Heading into December 2015, ad on Being Patriotic about San Bernadino shooting. Lots of inaccuracies and lies here, and they traveled pretty far: post liked over 1.3k times w/ over 500 shares.
Apparently 16,212 think that people forced from their homes due to war and unspeakable violence is funny. It's ads like these that sting a bit to look at. These problems are ours. Get your act together, America.
🚨 NOW ENTERING ELECTION YEAR, HOLD ONTO YOUR SEATS 🚨
Early 2016 was characterized by a lot of highly unsuccessful Williams and Kalvin ads!
Targeting Brits 🇬🇧, equating refugees to Nazis. Lovely!
Lots more calls to protest in 2016 so far, some seemingly impactful, others, like this one, not. Perhaps because the graphic design is godawful.
(But why would you protest @Beyonce?!)
Tried and true Russian agitation tactic: paid protestors (even if it's just food and coffee).
Petition to get Congress to block Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Real people. Signing petitions. Because a fake account got them stirred up. And we wonder about impact...
Omg, they also organized a pro-@Beyonce rally.
(It also does not seem to have done very well)
Aha, here's a clue to more of what's being redacted: speaker lists.
They recruited speakers to their fake protests. Not sure we knew this before.
Ok peeps, I have to stop staring at these for a little bit. Back later.
In the meantime, grateful for your attention and your shares! Thanks for going on this little ride with me. See you in a few!
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