Political Advertising

Russian Ads Focused Mainly on Race

USA Today: “The Russian company charged with orchestrating a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election overwhelmingly focused its barrage of social media advertising on what is arguably America’s rawest political division: race.”

“While some ads focused on topics as banal as business promotion or Pokémon, the company consistently promoted ads designed to inflame race-related tensions. Some dealt with race directly; others dealt with issues fraught with racial and religious baggage such as ads focused on protests over policing, the debate over a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and relationships with the Muslim community.”

Congressional Candidate: ‘Fuck the NRA’

Pat Davis (D), running for Congress in New Mexico, “is using an expletive in television ads to condemn the National Rifle Association and inaction by U.S. lawmakers on gun control,” the AP reports.

Said Davis: “Fuck the NRA. Their pro-gun policies have resulted in dead children, dead mothers and dead fathers.”

“KRQE-TV General Manager Bill Anderson says the station is not permitted by law to censor or edit Davis’ commercial and must provide equal access to candidates.”

‘So Conservative’

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) is out with a new ad: “I’ve got a big truck, just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take them home myself. Yep, I just said that.”

In Kemp’s first campaign ad, he promised to create a state-wide database to “track and immediately deport all criminal aliens so our kids don’t become the next victims.”

West Virginia Candidate Distorts Reality In New Ad

Rep. Evan Jenkins (R), who is running for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, is running an ad showing primary opponent Patrick Morrisey (R) shaking hands with Hillary Clinton — something that never happened, Yahoo News reports.

“The ad uses a manipulated version of a photograph that originally showed his rival shaking the hand of someone else: President Trump.”

The Atlantic: The era of fake video begins.

Jones Hits Moore Over ‘Awful’ Allegations

Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones (D) is running a television ad about the allegations swirling around challenger Roy Moore (R).

The ad uses Republican voters to explain why they can’t vote with their party in next month’s election: “You read the story and it just shakes you. Just awful.”

David Weigel: “At no point does the ad get into the particulars of the scandal, which have included graphic descriptions of a 32-year old Moore, at the start of a long legal career in Alabama, initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old and dating other teens. It’s a more careful approach than the one Democrats used in 2015, the last time the party won an upset victory in the Deep South, when now-Gov. Jon Bel Edwards loudly reminded voters of his opponent’s prostitution scandal.”

Russian Posts Were Seen by 126 Million People

Washington Post: “Facebook plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that 126 million of its users may have seen content produced and circulated by Russian operatives, many times more than what the company previously disclosed about the reach of the disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election.”

“Previously, Facebook had focused its disclosures on Russian ads. The company has said that 470 accounts and pages run by a Russian troll farm had purchased roughly 3,000 ads, which the company said reached an estimated 10 million users. But the troll farm, known as the Internet Research Agency, also published free content. Researchers estimated that the spread of free content was far greater than that of ads and that Facebook has been under pressure to share more about those posts.”

Facebook Ends ‘Dark Posts’

Facebook is bringing “dark posts” into the light in response to the election interference on social media last year, and the new rules will impact all advertisers, Ad Age reports.

“On Friday, Facebook revealed a new system of disclosing what groups and companies paid for ads on its platform: Any ads running on Facebook will be readily viewable by anyone.”

“That means no more so-called dark posts, ads that target only a particular set of people but are invisible otherwise because they never appear as posts on a brand or group’s page. The ads themselves will remain available—only now they’ll be visible to all.”

Google Uncovers Russian-Bought Ads

“Google for the first time has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited the company’s platforms in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Silicon Valley giant has found that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google’s many products, which include YouTube, as well as advertising associated with Google search, Gmail, and the company’s DoubleClick ad network.”

“The discovery by Google is also significant because the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook — a sign that the Russian effort to spread disinformation online may be a much broader problem than Silicon Valley companies have unearthed so far.”

10 Million Saw Russian Ads on Facebook

“Facebook said it estimates 10 million people saw ads it has discovered on its platform paid for by Russian entities, but warned that it may not have uncovered all malicious activity that attempted to interfere in the American political process,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The revelation from Facebook quantifies for the first time the spread of the known Russian activity since the social network said last month it had identified 470 ‘inauthentic’ Russian-backed accounts responsible for $100,000 in advertising spending. Facebook presented congressional investigators with data on 3,000 ads bought by the Russian actors before and after the U.S. presidential election.”

Facebook Discloses Details of Russia Ads to Mueller

“Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team are now in possession of Russian-linked ads run on Facebook during the presidential election, after they obtained a search warrant for the information,” CNN reports.

“Facebook gave Mueller and his team copies of ads and related information it discovered on its site linked to a Russian troll farm, as well as detailed information about the accounts that bought the ads and the way the ads were targeted at American Facebook users.”

“The disclosure, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, may give Mueller’s office a fuller picture of who was behind the ad buys and how the ads may have influenced voter sentiment during the 2016 election.”

Facebook Enabled Ads Targeted to ‘Jew Haters’

“Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you,” ProPublica reports.

“Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of ‘Jew hater,’ ‘How to burn jews,’ or, ‘History of why jews ruin the world.’”

$100K on Facebook Ads Could Go a Long Way

Kevin Bingle: “One common response to the news that a Kremlin-linked online operation in Russia bought $100,000 worth of Facebook ads during the 2016 election campaign has been that the money is a drop in the bucket relative to the more than $1 billion spent on ads during the cycle, or the $27 billion in revenue earned by Facebook last year.”

“But as one of a handful of Americans who managed the digital operations of a 2016 presidential campaign, I think $100,000 smartly spent on Facebook could have a much larger reach than you may realize. And more importantly, nobody — not the political pros, or the advertising gurus — truly knows how far a message spreads when Facebook is paid to promote it. The social network still contains many mysteries, even to those pouring millions into it.”

For members: Russian Facebook Ads Were a Rounding Error