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Russian firm tied to pro-Kremlin propaganda advertised on Facebook during election


Facebook turns over to federal authorities evidence that it had indeed been used as a weapon by Russia to attack the 2016 U.S. election. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, notes it serves as a “profound warning to us and others about future elections.”

Why is this important?

The research is revealing in that it validates several strong suspicions about weaponized narrative: (1) These attacks were used less to promote or attack individual candidates by name, than to destroy the underpinnings of the civilization by exploiting existing wedges, focusing “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.” (2) They were used with sophistication to target specific audiences, e.g., by geographic areas. (3) They were used to suppress the turnout of targeted groups. (4) It’s tough to know what’s going on without the specific data owned and closely held by the U.S. corporations being used against their society. (5) This lack of knowledge is especially dangerous in real time – while the attack is in progress. (6) And it came from the notorious St. Petersburg-based “troll farm” known for promoting pro-Russian government positions through fake accounts. The research raises as many questions as it answers – especially for U.S. prosecutors – such as: Where did the sophisticated targeting knowledge come from? Were these Russian attacks aided by members of the civilization attacked? JG


Carol D. Leonnig
Tom Hamburger
Rosalind S. Helderman

Publication Date

September 6, 2017