(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
House Democrats early Thursday released the full slate of roughly 3,500 advertisementspurchased on Facebook by the Russian Internet Research Agency, most during the 2016 campaign, in what U.S. intelligence agencies said was Mocow’s attempt to sow discord and boost Donald Trump’s candidacy.
“There’s no question that Russia sought to weaponize social media platforms to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election,” said a statement from Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
He added, “The only way we can begin to inoculate ourselves against a future attack is to see first-hand the types of messages, themes and imagery the Russians used to divide us.”
The Internet Research Agency is one of the organizations charged by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as part of the criminal investigation into Russian political interference and possible Trump campaign complicity. The advertisements focused on divisive issues like illegal immigration, police shootings of black men, Texas secession and Trump’s pledge to lock up his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Although the majority of the ads were posted before the election, the Russians kept running them afterwards, a sign of what intelligence agencies say is Moscow’s ongoing attempt to meddle in U.S. politics.
In a statement, Facebook said it was improving its policies, including disclosing who paid for them and verifying the purchaser’s location.
During the 2016 campaign, the company said, “we were focused on the kinds of cyber security attacks typically used by nation states, for example phishing and malware attacks. And we were to slow to spot this type of information operations interference. Since then, we’ve made important changes to prevent bad actors from using misinformation to undermine the democratic process. / By CHRIS MEGERIAN / YAHOO /