Sorry Clintonites, Looks Like These Russian Facebook Ads Are Just Another Dead End

Posted: Sep 29, 2017 6:00 PM

So, while the pundit class ponder what’s next for the Department of Health and Human Services now that Tom Price has resigned over taking chartered flights that cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars, we have more updates on the Russian investigation. Yeah—I know; not the way I wanted to end my week, but here we are. Facebook has been at the center of this new development, where Russian-linked companies bought ads on the network to push false information. In some cases, it was in support of Black Lives Matter, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump. It wasn’t solely a pro-Trump effort. Moreover, the social media site turned over information on 3,000 ads that went through the network. The fact that 3,000 ads tilted the election is laughable. The fact that the expenditure for these ads, which are a fraction of what Hillary Clinton spent on her 2016 ambition, is being viewed as a serious angle of investigation is equally hilarious. It’s another dead end for the Left who are so trying to blame Russia for blowing up Hillary.  The Daily Beast reported how some ads posed as Muslim Americans to create chaos for the former first lady:

The Facebook group United Muslims of America was neither united, Muslim, nor American.

Instead, sources familiar with the group tell The Daily Beast, it was an imposter account on the world’s largest social network that’s been traced back to the Russian government.

Using the account as a front to reach American Muslims and their allies, the Russians pushed memes that claimed Hillary Clinton admitted the U.S. “created, funded and armed” al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State; claimed that John McCain was ISIS’ true founder; whitewashed blood-drenched dictator Moammar Gadhafi and praised him for not having a “Rothschild-owned central bank”; and falsely alleged Osama bin Laden was a “CIA agent.”

First of all, this is so hyperbolic; it should have raised red flags concerning authenticity. Second, after the election, the front group started to praise Clinton after the Syrian chemical attack in April:

The front group’s Instagram account was using the username @Muslim_Voice and had over 71,000 followers before it was shuttered in August. The account used the hashtag #StopBombingSyria over 30 times in its final week on the web, towing a Kremlin talking point in one post, saying “American tax dollars (are) funding Terrorists and trying to destabilize Syria!” The account also claimed that “97% of people do not know that Osama bin Laden was a CIA agent” in an Instagram meme it watermarked with “United Muslims of America.” (bin Laden was neither a CIA agent nor a CIA asset during his time in the 1980s fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. The 9/11 Commission found: “Bin Laden and his comrades had their own sources of support and training, and they received little or no assistance from the United States.”)

After an American admirer of ISIS massacred 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in June 2016, the community quickly created an event titled “Support Hillary. Save American Muslims!” that presented Clinton’s name in an Arabic-style font.

The fake United Muslims of America page was quick to point out Clinton was “the only presidential candidate who refuses to ‘demonize’ Islam after the Orlando nightclub shooting,” and boasted that “with such a person in White House (sic) America will easily reach the bright multicultural future.”

There were also purchases for Black Lives Matter:

At least one of the Facebook ads bought by Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign referenced Black Lives Matter and was specifically targeted to reach audiences in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, sources with knowledge of the ads told CNN.

Ferguson and Baltimore had gained widespread attention for the large and violent protests over police shootings of black men. The decision to target the ad in those two cities offers the first look at how accounts linked to the Russian government-affiliated troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency used geographically targeted advertising to sow political chaos in the United States, the sources said.

Facebook has previously said that roughly one-quarter of the 3,000 ads bought by the agency were geographically targeted, but it has not revealed any specific locations. Facebook has also not revealed which demographic groups and interest groups were targeted by the ads.

Even Politico admitted that the ads, while trying to sew chaos, are not explicit concerning whether this effort was pro-Trump and anti-Clinton [emphasis mine]:

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one of the Russian-bought political ads on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election.

Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads.

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.

So, in all, it’s a mish-mosh of everything. It promoted the Green Party, liberalism, gave Clinton some high-fives, and pushed Black Lives Matter. It’s not a concerted effort to bash Clinton. It’s not overwhelmingly pro-Trump. It’s just another development that shows there is zero evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. No evidence existed then, and this analysis of the ads on Facebook shows there’s still no smoking gun. What we are getting from the Left are some inane ways to prevent this from happening again. I don’t know why—it’s obviously a nothing burger. Is it because they want to censor the Internet? We all know that a lot of liberals think speech that isn’t to their liking is an act of violence, or something. Sorry Clintonites, another angle on the whole Russia investigation looks like a whole lotta nothing. Maybe it's just time to close the book on this, huh?

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