You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lawmakers Disclose Trove of Ads Russia Used to Influence 2016 Campaign

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers made public a trove of Russian-backed social media ads designed to sway opinion and sow discord, primarily during the 2016 presidential election.

The release of the ads by House Democrats came as representatives for Facebook, Google, and Twitter faced their third hearing this week on what the companies discovered about the extent of Russian influence on their platforms, and what they plan to do about it in the future.

Some of the ads — covering topics like Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders, Islam, and illegal immigration — were shown during earlier hearings. They had been supplied by Facebook, but lawmakers made only a few public until Wednesday.

A Facebook ad, from an account “Stop A.I.,” shows a picture of a woman in a burka and announces, “‘Religious’ face coverings are putting American people at huge risk! We must not sacrifice national security to satisfy the demands of minorities. All face covering should be banned in every state across America.”

Another from the same account urges, “Kick Sharia out of America!”

The spots show the sophistication in mimicking ongoing movements, like an account called “Black Matters.” That spot drew 224,000 “likes.”

Another faux group, called Defend the 2nd, promoted the right to bear arms. Another, from a group called “Being Patriotic,” was for the rights of police officers.

A petition campaign, from an organization called “Donald Trump America,” calls for “disqualification and removal of Hillary Clinton from the presidential ballot as dynastic succession of the Clinton family in American politics breaches the core democratic principles laid out by our Founding Fathers.” It included a link to the White House’s We the People petition site.

Other spots are somewhat puzzling, like an ad featuring a buff Bernie Sanders from the group LGBT United. It pitched “Buff Bernie: A Coloring Book for Berniacs.

A fake group called “Heart of Texas” sponsored a spot on the border patrol, with the message, “Thanks to Obama’s and Hillary’s policy, illegals come here because they wait for amnesty promised. The wrong course had been chosen by the American government, but all those politicians are too far from the border to see who actually sneaks through it illegally.”

An Instagram sponsored post from a group called “American veterans” attacks “Killary Clinton,” while a group called Army of Jesus had a Facebook ad in which Jesus and Satan are arm wrestling. The message from Satan: “If I win, Clinton wins!” From Jesus: “Not if I can help it!” It urges users to press “like” to “help Jesus win!”

More Politics

  • Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

    Ryan Zinke to Resign as Interior Secretary

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will step down at the end of the year, amid a series of investigations that include conflict of interest. “Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years. Ryan [...]

  • Department of Justice

    DOJ: Gray TV-Raycom Media Merger Can Move Forward if Overlapping Stations Are Sold

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has given the go ahead to Gray Television’s $3.6 billion merger with Raycom Media on the condition that stations be sold in nine markets. The DOJ’s Antitrust Division said it had reached a settlement in which Gray would sell stations in the markets where they would otherwise own two or [...]

  • Mick Mulvaney Chief of Staff

    Mick Mulvaney Will Serve as Acting Chief of Staff, Trump Says

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Mick Mulvaney will serve as his acting chief of staff after the departure of John Kelly at the end of the year. Mulvaney is currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Trump has said he was talking to a number of candidates for the position, but [...]

  • Michael Cohen

    Michael Cohen: Trump Knew Hush Money Payments Were Wrong

    WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen claims that Donald Trump knew that hush money payments made to two women in advance of the 2016 election were wrong. Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” for his first interview since being sentenced to three years in prison, Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, said that when payments were being arranged for [...]

  • Trump Jim Acosta CNN White House

    The Gradual Disappearing Act of the White House Daily Press Briefing

    WASHINGTON — The Trump White House has dropped an event that used to be a prized invite for journalists and their families in D.C.: A holiday party for the media. But another tradition has been disappearing from the West Wing agenda as well: the daily press briefing. The regular televised afternoon back and forth between [...]

  • Nexstar Logo

    Nexstar Settles With Justice Department Over Sharing of Ad Information

    WASHINGTON — Nexstar Media Group, which recently announced plans to acquire Tribune Media and become the largest owner of TV stations in the country, has settled with the Justice Department as it investigates broadcasters’ sharing of competitive advertising rate information with rivals. Six other station groups, including Tribune Media, reached a settlement with the DOJ [...]

  • Donald Trump

    National Enquirer Parent Admits to Making Karen McDougal Payments to Help Trump in 2016 Election

    WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors said National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media, admitted that it made a $150,000 payment to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal “to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations” about Donald Trump in advance of the 2016 presidential election. AMI’s admission could bolster any case prosecutors make against Trump for violating [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content