As the investigation into the Kremlin’s ties with Trump continues, Facebook has revealed more information about Russia’s creation and use of fake Americans on the social media site. Facebook revealed the Kremlin worked directly with a Russian digital marketer to create fake Facebook accounts to use the platform to promote their agenda. The digital marketing firm, while it’s unknown whether or not they were directly state sanctioned, were the direct creators of the accounts, which spread news from DCLeaks.com, a firm US Intelligence services recognized in 2016 as being part of an effort Russian intelligence to disseminate disinformation.
The majority of cases in which the ad firm created fake personas were superficial at best, one example outlines their ideal American.
“Melvin Redick of Harrisburg PA a friendly looking American with a backwards baseball cap and a daughter posted on Facebook a link to a brand new website,” as reported in the New York Times, NBC, and CNN.
“These guys show the hidden truth about George Soros, Hillary Clinton and other leaders of the US “ he wrote on June 8, 2016. “Visit #DNCLeaks website. It’s really interesting!”
However Russia’s operation turned out to be more complex than just creating fake Americans. According to Facebook, the marketing firm purchased over $100,000in political ads, which were then seen over 340 million times. The ad space purchased seldomly targeted presidential candidates; instead, they used the ad space to discuss topics in the US, such as expressing anti-immigrant sentiments and criticizing gun control and organize rallies in support of those issues.
Facebook has since deleted pages and accounts suspected of having ties to the Russian company and the Kremlin. Pages, like the Mr. Redick of PA, and over 400 similar pages have been deleted and Facebook staff are working to continue the purge of fake accounts while they handover more information about the campaign to investigators.