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The Russian ads, published by Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee, give the public a first glimpse into attempts to split the US ahead of the 2016 elections.
USA TODAY

The Russian company is to stage a far-reaching initiative to interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign The overwhelming majority of the election campaign focused on social media advertising on what is arguably the most widespread political division of America: race.

The approximately 3,500 Facebook ads were created by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, which is the focus of February's special counsel Robert Mueller faces charges against 13 Russians and three companies that want to influence the election.

While some ads focused on such mundane topics as business promotion or Pokémon, the company consistently pitched ads to fuel racial tensions. Some dealt directly with the breed; Others dealt with issues related to racist and religious baggage, such as those related to protests against policing, the debate over a wall on the Mexican border, and relations with the Muslim community.

The Company continued to hammer out racist issues after the war

USA TODAY network reporters reviewed each of the 3,517 ads that were released this week for the first time by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The analysis included not only the content of the ads, but also information about the audience, when the ad was shown, how many views it received, and how much the ad cost.

Among the results: [19659012] More than half of the 3,500 or so ads released this week, more than half – about 1,950 – made explicit signs of race. This included 25 million ad impressions – a measure of how many times the spot was retrieved from a server for transmission to a device.

  • At least 25% of the ads focused on criminal matters, often with racial connotations. Separate ads that were released simultaneously aroused the suspicion that the police treated black people in one ad, while another promoted the support of pro-policing groups.
  • Between 2015 and summer 2016, an average of 44 ads per month were shared, a significant increase in the run-up to election day. Between September and November 2016, the number of racial-related spots increased to 400. Another 900 were published after the November elections until May 2017.
  • Only about 100 of the ads mentioned Donald Trump or the opposition to Hillary Clinton. A few dozen questions asked about the US electoral process and voter integrity, while a handful mentioned other candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, or Jeb Bush.
  • Interactive Chart: Explaining Russia's Facebook Campaign for Americans 19659008] Young Mie Kim, a researcher from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who published some of the first scientific analysis of social media influence campaigns during the election , said that the Russians are trying to destabilize Western democracy by targeting extreme identity groups. 19659008] "Effective polarization can happen if you advertise the idea that, I like my group, but I do not like the other group" and pushes the distance between the two extreme sides ", said Kim we know that the Russians targeted Extreme and then returned with various negative messages that may not have been aimed at converting voters, but at suppressing turnout and undermining the democratic process. "

    More: Thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russians US voters unmasked by Congress

    More: How Russian manipulators targeted Facebook users

    More: Read the indictment of the Internet Research Center

    Background: Special Lawyer Sues Russian Nationals w US intervention and political processes

    The most prominent ad – with 1.3 million impressions and 73,000 clicks – illustrates how the influence campaign was carried out.

    A Facebook page called "Back the Badge" landed on 19 October 2016, after a summer in which more than 10 visitors came 0 Black Lives Matter protests, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernicks national anthem protests in August and protests against the police shootings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina

    The information analyzed by the USA TODAY Network shows the Internet The research agency paid 110,058 rubles or $ 1,785 for the Facebook spot. It targeted 20- to 65-year-olds who were interested in law enforcement and had already enjoyed pages like The Thin Blue, Police Wives Unite, and Officer Down Memorial Page.

    The very next day the Influence operation paid for a reminder that depicted two black brothers handcuffed in Colorado for "driving while black". This ad targeted people interested in Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Black History. Within minutes, the Russian company attacked the same group with an ad stating, "Police brutality has been the most common problem in recent years."

    USC professor Nick Cull, author of The Cold War and the United States States Information Agency says the ad campaign recalls tactics used during the Soviet era. His book examined how the KGB tried to disrupt the LA Olympics by playing propaganda of the KKK, which threatened black athletes.

    "The Soviet news media have exaggerated US racism over and over again and have raised hatred even beyond the dreadful levels of reality of the 1950s," Cull wrote in an e-mail. "It was one reason why Eisenhower decided to campaign for civil rights."

    Adam Ship, the minority leader of the House Intelligence Committee, said he made the ads public, allowing academics to target both the intention and the breadth of their

    "These ads largely attempted one American against another by exploiting mistakes in our society or race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other deeply cynical thoughts, "Schiff said in an interview with USA TODAY Network. "Americans should take away that the Russians perceive these divisions as weak points and can be exploited to some degree by a sophisticated campaign."

    A federal jury filed an indictment in February against 13 people accused of working for the Internet Research Agency. The 2016 merger case is the only case where Mueller has been involved in an election interference procedure

    The indictment contained e-mails from employees of the Russian company who left no doubt that their goals were in them, Sowing strife in the US "These efforts included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and denouncing Hillary Clinton," reads the indictment.

    Peter Carr, a spokesperson for the Special Adviser, declined to comment A lawyer for two of the companies accused by Mueller did not respond to a request for comment One of the companies, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, filed a non-guilty allegation on Wednesday in the US District Court in Washington [19659008] The USA TODAY network analysis found that the Russians first made a series vira Lem memes on banal American pop used culture, such as Spongebob Squarepants and Pokémon, to build support behind legitimate connections before the racist-tinged spots are used.

    Hundreds of ads mixed race and police work, with many Black Lives Matter mimicking activists who blur real news with allegations

    This type of subversion only violates legitimate efforts to calm tensions over police work and hate crimes, said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People. Johnson said the Russian ads were likely to fuel "hateful, xenophobic rhetoric" during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    "If you stir up fear to achieve a negative action against a target group that is based on race and a foreign nation uses that fear to undermine and undermine democracy, that has become a serious problem," said Johnson. "It's a warning to technology companies and businesses that individuals have entrusted their privacy to provide factual information."

    It's hard to gauge the exact impact of the campaign on the police and their families, but it certainly did not help Jim Pasco, senior adviser to the President of the National Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the US.

    "There is no doubt that these ad placements have further aggravated tensions in already volatile and already tricky situations in critical times." Pasco said

    The tech tools have changed, but the issues of the disruption have not, said Bret Schafer of the Alliance of the German Marshall Fund for Securing Democracy, the activity of Russia-affiliated social media bots and Trolls pursued.

    Social media is an effective way to address wedge-signal problems by allowing them to tailor ads to micro-targeting targets and send them to Confederate Flags supporters at the same time as Black Lives Matter sympathizers to fuel cleavages , he said.

    "They stir up the racial pot as they then try to connect with minorities and say: look how racist the content is online you do not really have to do that because the content is racist online without the Russians to be very clear, "said Schafer.

    He added that it is difficult to measure how effective the campaigns were in general. Some of the ads were completely bombarded because of interactions. But fomenting racist fears and tensions was often effective.

    "Some of the most racist ads that have been published have received the highest level of engagement," said Schafer. "It seems their messages were extreme on some of these issues – in fact, the hardest hit came.

    " If they hit 10% of the time, it will still be effective for them, "said Schafer.

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