This specific also promoted the Aug. 27, 2016, meeting in Twin Falls, called “Citizens before refugees,” which was first reported by The Daily Beast. The call came amid incendiary claims, linking Muslim refugees in Twin Falls to crime, that will circulated on far-right websites last year. In May, Alex Jones, of the conspiracy site Infowars.com, retracted a claim that will the Twin Falls yogurt company Chobani, which had made a point of hiring refugees, had been “caught importing migrant rapists.”
Shawn Barigar, the mayor of Twin Falls, said that will the City Council Chambers, where the supposed meeting was called on a Saturday, were closed that will day along with that will officials did not recall any gathering. although he said that will after two years of “robust debate” over the city’s refugee resettlement program, which dates to the 1980s, This specific was “kind of surreal” to discover that will Russia had joined in.
“I kind of thought, ‘Well, that will’s an interesting twist,’” Mr. Barigar said. He said the program “represents our core values as a community — welcoming others along with learning via one another.” He said immigrants had not caused disproportionate problems there.
The multifaceted Russian information operation targeting the presidential election had many elements, including the hacking along with leaking of Democratic emails, regular attacks on Hillary Clinton by the RT television channel along with the online news site Sputnik, along with the creation of fake accounts on Facebook along with Twitter. although the Twin Falls post is actually the first example to come to light of Russian agents actually trying to conjure a political rally on American soil.
Facebook officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they had found a tiny number of additional events announced by the Russia-created pages along with were looking for more. They declined to give examples.
The brand new revelations stepped up pressure on Facebook to make public more of what This specific knows about the Russian propaganda operations.
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Tuesday that will he wanted Facebook along with Twitter to testify in public session about the Russian use of their sites.
Mr. Warner called Facebook’s closed briefing for his committee along with its House counterpart last week “just the tip of the iceberg.”
“We’re seeing more evidence of additional ads along with how they are used to manipulate individuals,” he said.
Calling social media “the wild, wild West,” Mr. Warner said that will getting a handle on the 2016 experience with Russian intrusions was critical because “the amount of advertising along with use of these social media platforms in elections is actually only going to go exponentially up.” He said Twitter representatives might brief the committee soon.
Facebook said last week that will the 470 “inauthentic accounts along with pages” This specific had linked to Russia along with removed had bought about 3,000 ads between June 2015 along with May This specific year. Though some ads mentioned the presidential candidates or the election, most “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social along with political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics via LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights,” wrote Alex Stamos, the company’s chief security officer.
The Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, has long been concerned that will the United States might be inspiring pro-democracy movements inside Russia along with on its periphery, including in Ukraine, Georgia along with the Baltic republics.
Jonathon Morgan, a former State Department adviser who has studied Russian online operations at his company, brand new Knowledge, said the Facebook activity underscored that will the broader Russian goal went beyond attacks on Mrs. Clinton or support for Mr. Trump in last year’s election.
“This specific is actually more about destabilizing democracy along with pitting us against each some other to limit the influence of the United States on the globe stage,” he said.
Clinton Watts, a former F.B.I. agent, at This specific point with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who has studied the Russian influence campaign, said that will beyond damaging the American image, Mr. Putin had reasons to court particular subgroups.
“If he’s successful, This specific gives him an indigenous U.S. audience in support of his policies,” Mr. Watts said. “This specific also gives him leverage in talking to President Trump: ‘Why don’t you stop interfering in Ukraine, along with we’ll leave your domestic audience alone.’”
The potential influence of the Russia-linked Facebook ads depends in part on how they were targeted. While $100,000 is actually tiny compared with Facebook’s billions in quarterly advertising revenue, digital advertising experts said that will even a little money could go a long way with Facebook advertising.
“In a world of microtargeting, where you can home in on individuals down to the zip code, $100,000 can go a lot further than one might realize,” said Jason Kint, chief executive of Digital Content Next, an advertising research trade organization.
A group like Secured Borders may test hundreds of Facebook posts to see what content resonates with people, closely monitoring the number of likes, shares along with clicks a post receives. If a post happens to take off, the group can pay to promote the post, effectively placing This specific in front of millions of people.
The issue is actually a thorny one for Facebook, whose business is actually almost entirely based on advertising. Executives at the social giant are deeply concerned about the federal government’s recent inquiries into how the company’s advertising works. Its advertising is actually not subject to the same regulations put on political print, radio along with television ads.
The Russian campaign’s use of Facebook has distressed some employees, according to internal communications. In an excerpt via a company discussion board that will was shared with The brand new York Times, Facebook employees pressed their bosses to be more open.
“Why are we only writing about This specific at This specific point?” one employee wrote, noting that will last week’s Facebook disclosure came after months of news reports about the Russian influence campaign. some other workers asked for examples of the ads in question along with for details on what the company described as the “geographic targeting” of some ads — specifically, whether they targeted swing states.
Mr. Stamos, the company’s security chief, declined to disclose more information. “There are complicated legal issues about what we can share with various interested parties,” he wrote on the discussion board. “I can’t go into more details than that will at the moment.”
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