“The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.
The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.”
See Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisionsYes, the Russians invested heavily in the US election. Evidence provided by FaceBook, probably the tip of the iceberg, clearly was targeted to incite Trumpists to vote and Hillarists to waver. I can see Trumpists like Trump and Bannon suggesting to the Russians just what to do to pick the scabs off several wounds in the USAian psyche complete with timing and regional flavour.
Those holding that there’s “no evidence that Russia influenced a single vote” are correct. The evidence suggests Russia influenced millions of votes. The Russians planted seeds of hate that grew into a win for Trump.
I expect that if FaceBook could find 3000 ads, there may be many times that better hidden. Then there’s Twitter and Breitbart and plain old e-mail and all kinds of PACs and … I can’t imagine Putin left many stones unturned.