The US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has published its report on alleged Russian meddling in the US 2016 presidential elections, containing ads that were allegedly purchased by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency to sway the mood of voters. According to the report, Moscow allegedly used ads directed at a variety of provocative themes to "divide" the American people and were supposedly targeted against Hillary Clinton.
"They [Russians] did this by creating fake accounts, pages and communities to push divisive online content and videos, and to mobilize real Americans, unwittingly, to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests. Russia sought to divide us by our race, by our country of origin, by our religion, and by our political party," Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, the author of the report, claimed.
Among the themes touched upon were border security, illegal immigration, religion, gun control and minorities. According to the author of the report, the Internet Research Agency, which US authorities often brand "the troll factory," allegedly paid for advertisements targeted at specific demographic groups, such as religious people, who were shown posts of the Army of Jesus Facebook group with a picture and message equating Hilary Clinton to the Satan.
Why does the Russian anti-Hillary Facebook ad have Jesus and Satan shaking hands like Arnold and Carl Weathers in Predator? "WHAT'S THE MATTER, SATAN? THE CIA HAVE YOU PUSHING TOO MANY PENCILS?" pic.twitter.com/McDtYU3wLO— Zack Stentz (@MuseZack) February 19, 2018
Some of the advertisements, despite US claims that Russia favored Trump, actually promoted candidates and societies that were not Trump supporters.
Congress just released 3,500 Russian Ads on Facebook. So who do you think Russia supports??? (BUZZER) COLIN KAPAERNICK, BLACK LIVES MATTER & the LGBTQ community!!! Not exactly Trump allies!— Susan Lindauer (@SLindauer2011) May 11, 2018
WARNING: Reading this article could make you a Russian agent https://t.co/lHgQyKp46I pic.twitter.com/jWfM3HgsQh
Interestingly, many of the ads bought weren't promoting political issues at all. For example, one of the most widespread ads was devoted to a Facebook group supporting US policemen. Some of them even promoted groups filled with funny memes.
The most popular Facebook ad created by Russian trolls to sway the 2016 election was for a page called "Back the Badge," designed to rally support for cops, @thedailybeast reports. pic.twitter.com/CW7BNzveOL— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 11, 2018
Here are just a few of the communities the Russian Troll farm had on Facebook. It's eclectic. Blacktivist and BM were two of the bigger ones but I haven't come across their community ads yet. pic.twitter.com/4MOhzAa890— Dusty (@DustinGiebel) May 10, 2018
US officials have been investigating alleged Russian meddling into the US presidential elections and purported ties between Moscow and Trump's team since 2016. However, the only thing that they have managed to determine is that there were no ties between Trump and Russia. US officials are continuing to claim that Russia made attempts to influence the elections, but have so far failed to present any solid evidence of such influence.