May 12, 2018 - Technology

Russian ads focused overwhelmingly on race

Several of the Russian facebook ads

Photo Illustration: Axios Visuals

"We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians. Their dominant strategy: Sowing racial discord," report USA Today's Nick Penzenstadler, Brad Heath and Jessica Guynn.

The big picture: "Of the roughly 3,500 ads published this week [by the House Intelligence Committee], more than half — about 1,950 — made express references to race. Those accounted for 25 million ad impressions — a measure of how many times the spot was pulled from a server for transmission to a device."

By the numbers:

  • "At least 25% of the ads centered on issues involving crime and policing, often with a racial connotation. Separate ads, launched simultaneously, would stoke suspicion about how police treat black people in one ad, while another encouraged support for pro-police groups."
  • "Divisive racial ad buys averaged about 44 per month from 2015 through the summer of 2016 before seeing a significant increase in the run-up to Election Day. "
  • This is interesting: "An additional 900 [race-related spots] were posted after the November election through May 2017."
  • "Only about 100 of the ads overtly mentioned support for Donald Trump or opposition to Hillary Clinton."

Go deeper: See the Russia-linked Facebook ads

Go deeper