So it seems there’s some evidence to back Russian-paid for political ads which ran on Facebook during the 2016 election.
While some links have been made to show they paid for anti-Clinton ads (and some that promoted Trump) there’s evidence to show that Green Party candidate Jill Stein, as well as Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders, gained some support through similar ads backed by “unknown” Russia sources.
The pro-Stein ad came late in the political campaign and pushed her candidacy for president, this person said.
“Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein,” the ad reads. “Trust me. It’s not a wasted vote. … The only way to take our country back is to stop voting for the corporations and banks that own us. #GrowaSpineVoteJillStein.”
The ads show a complicated effort that didn’t necessarily hew to promoting Trump and bashing Clinton. Instead, they show a desire to create divisions while sometimes praising Trump, Sanders and Stein. A number of the ads seemed to question Clinton’s authenticity and tout some of the liberal criticisms of her candidacy.
There is no indication Stein, Sanders or Trump was aware of the advertisements, which were described to POLITICO by people with knowledge of them.
Facebook declined to comment on the specifics of the advertisements but noted a previous statement: “The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the U.S. presidential election or voting for a particular candidate. Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”
The number of ads bought by Russians on the site is far less than 1 percent of all election spending, and it is unclear how many people even saw the advertisements. The social network has estimated the total cost of the ads at $150,000.
But in her recently published book about her election defeat, “What Happened,” Clinton writes that Stein’s modest vote totals in several swing states “may well have thrown the election to Trump.”
Many of the 3,000 Russian-bought advertisements Facebook has identified were riddled with poor grammar and spelling and contained outlandish assertions, according to a person with knowledge of them.