US House democrats have released ads that Russians put on Facebook

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According to NBC News, House Democrats from the Intelligence Committee released "thousands" of 2016 Internet Research Agency ads that ran on Facebook and Instagram.

With few exceptions, the ads focus on issues that divide Americans, from gun rights to immigration to racial justice. Notice, though, that none of the most popular ads are specifically political, talking about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

One about Black Lives Matter declared: "Your life matter". And the idea was always to push division, as seen by tactics like flooding Facebook with ads from groups like "Black Matters" after Dylann Roof murdered nine black people at a church in Charleston, SC.

Another opposed immigrants who "should prove that they are deserved to stay in the United States".

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The ads, turned over to the panel by Facebook, cover a time period from early 2015 through mid-2017.

Aimed at Facebook users in Florida and other states, it's just one example of thousands of ads linked to Russian Federation that sought to stoke racial and political animosity in the USA ahead of the presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

"There's no question that Russian Federation sought to weaponize social media platforms to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election", said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Among other efforts to curb bad actors, Facebook is focusing on greater ad transparency, verification and labeling, intelligence sharing with governments, and specific actions against Russian operatives.

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The Russian agents manipulated Facebook features to target specific users, aiming messages at people who identified as patriotic, feminist, or who expressed interest in certain publications or websites that provided a clue to their political standing.

As has been widely reported, numerous ads sought to directly influence American votes in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller in February indicted a number of Russians who worked for the Internet Research Agency. The company outlined several changes it has already made to its ad policies.

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