Russia’s fake news Facebook campaign may have reached 70 million Americans
In the latest episode of America’s hit new 2017 series “The Worst Case Scenario,” an analysis shows that the Russian-funded effort to spread covert propaganda on Facebook reached a minimum of 23 million people and as many as 70 million. The Daily Beast reported on Friday that up to 28 percent of Americans of voting age were exposed to the campaign promoting “divisive social and political messages” to Americans.
The analysis came after Facebook announced earlier this week that Russian troll farms has purchased $100,000 worth of ads on the social media service using fake accounts.
Facebook has not released the ads or revealed what kind of reach Russia got with its ad buy. The Daily Beast explains why that’s important:
On the surface, $100,000 is small change in contemporary national politics, and 3,000 ads sounds like a drop in the pond when Facebook boasts 2 billion monthly users. But it turns out $100,000 on Facebook can go a surprisingly long way, if it’s used right. On average, Facebook ads run about $6 for 1,000 impressions. By that number, the Kremlin’s $100,000 buy would get its ads seen nearly 17 million times.
Still, this amounts to Facebook’s first public acknowledgement of its unintentional role in Russia’s efforts to undermine the American electoral process. So while the impact of these ads are still hard to measure exactly, if you combine these ads with the spread of fake news (actual fake news, not the kind Trump talks about, because, again, we live in the Worst Case Scenario where we have to make this distinction), it become increasingly clear how all those posts about “KILLARY” and Benghazi and made-up crap about the Obamas and Clintons murdering Seth Rich by candlelight at a mosque or whatever came to poison the mind of the nice older people in your family who ended up voting for Trump.
Russia wasn’t so much interested in getting Donald Trump elected as it was in sowing distrust and chaos into the fiber of our political system through hacking the DNC, hacking actual voter rolls, courting the now-president’s idiot son and the spread of false information to gullible people on Facebook. It sure seems like they got exactly what they wanted.