Nextgov: We now know that a Russian organization spent two years trying to influence American voters using Facebook. In a blog post published on the evening of Sept. 6, Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, wrote that the company has discovered about 3,000 political ads that ran between June 2015 and May 2017, paid for through fake accounts that “likely operated out of Russia.”
The 3,000 ads cost about $100,000 over the two years, according to Stamos’s post. They were “connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages” that violated Facebook’s policies. They focused largely on “divisive social and political” subjects like gun rights, immigration, and LGBT issues, and less on particular presidential candidates or the election itself. And Facebook suspects, though can’t confirm, that some of them were connected to a Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg called the “Internet Research Agency,” as one company official told the Washington Post (paywall). It has given the information to congressional investigators looking into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 US election and the Donald Trump campaign’s possible collusion.