By Mike DeBonis
We knew that Russian Facebook ads did — and continue to do — sow discord in the U.S.
But to be fair to the Russians, there are ways to see the manifest impact of even a ginormous ad campaign during such a small time frame. BuzzFeed found a snippet of one on an Internet traffic map showing successful election outreach from a Russian lawmaker in the state of Georgia, and then showed how it affected media share.
On another news-analysis site, Paul Scott Goodman of the Berkman Klein Center also dug into the dissemination of anti-immigrant ads and reported that they had the effect of — wait for it — driving natural voters to the polls.
So, at this point, you might be asking: Russian propaganda runs ads in the Washington Post? Any Russian ads? Well, Vladimir Krasnov, who was a member of a Russian state propaganda-farm for years, bought pro-Russian content at about half the rate of Moscow ads and ran his ads with even greater success.
The Washington Post reports on how it happened:
“A trove of Facebook ads from the firm the Internet Research Agency made their way into The Washington Post last month, through an employee who had opened them for a colleague, who had then open them in his name. Now, the agency itself has set up a 30-second video of one such ad, in English, according to Dan Levison, director of consumer advocacy for the Israeli privacy research group Annenberg Institute.
“The actor shows up in the ad in a venue that is nearly identical to the Metro in Washington.”
“The video has since been removed.”
This effectively bumps the distribution from Facebook to Reddit, apparently. But it may show you something.
Globally, the order of the official propaganda outlets and the flow of funding have both improved over the past year.