The Presidential Elections in the United States last 2016 became controversial after the news that Russia has apparently tried to manipulate public opinion courtesy of special advertisements. In turn, lawmakers are now planning to release the rumored Russia Facebook ads as part of an ongoing investigation.
According to CNET, thousands of these Facebook ads are apparently politically “divisive.” These were apparently purchased by operatives associated to Russia during the elections last year.
Representative Adam Schiff and Mike Conaway, heads of the Russia Investigation of House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said they are working with Facebook to release the ads. This is after a talk with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Sandberg confirms this via a Facebook post as well. Interestingly, the release will likely happen after the hearing on November 1. Officials from Alphabet, Twitter, and Facebook are expected to appear.
Russia Investigation, Facebook Ads
Schiff and Conaway’s team is currently investigating the apparent involvement of Russia in the United States election of 2016. It appears 3,000 ads were purchased to “influence” the public’s opinion. Around 10-million Facebook users have apparently seen the ads just before and after the election.
Interestingly, Twitter also announced there are 201 accounts linked to the same Russian “operatives” that purchased the Facebook ads. It appears these operatives also spent thousands on advertisements located in other websites such as Google search, Gmail and YouTube, which Google also have revealed earlier this month.
The investigation goes to show the apparent capability of information to influence and sway the minds of the public given the right exposure and manipulation. Although this usage of information is not always for the benefit of consumers, it is important to be aware of the capabilities of such technology especially when it comes to the decision-making processes of consumers.
There are still no news as to how this investigation will likely affect the state of affairs in the United States government.