Though the Kremlin lies a world away from the United States, it still managed to wiggle its way into American politics via Russian ads on social media. In a new plot twist of the chaotic saga that is Donald Trump's presidency so far, lawmakers revealed a small sample of Russian political ads geared towards influencing the 2016 election. Like a nesting doll, the story behind fake Russian political ads has layers to it, and unpacking the story helps you to better understand it. Throughout the 2016 election, Russian trolls bought over 3,000 ads on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The primary focus of these advertisements sought to influence Americans to vote Trump, but the ads did more than simply praise and rally for him.
While yes, many Russian political ads from the 2016 election do support Donald Trump, numerous others attempted to sow discord within the Democratic party. In addition to positive Trump ads, pro-Bernie Sanders messages and ads also came from Russian-associated accounts as well, a tactic used to draw Sanders supporters from Hillary Clinton's base. A few sneakier ones attempted, and even succeeded at, inciting rallies within the country over divisive issues such as immigration and LGBTQ rights. Because of Trump's ties to Putin, the revelation of these Facebook ads does not look good. But as these ads show, Russian trolls only needed some flashy photos, strong words, and peoples' short attention spans to influence the country.
Help Jesus Defeat The Devil (And Hillary)
From Army of Jesus, which sought to associate Hillary Clinton with Satan.
A Counter Protest Event Against The Westboro Baptist Church
From Facebook group LGBT United, this ad cost 3,000 rubles and targeted the LGBT population of Kansas.