May 10, 2018

Axios PM

Situational awareness: President Trump will meet North Korea's Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12th.

1 big thing: Inside Russia's extensive Facebook ads

Illustration: Axios Visuals

House lawmakers released the thousands of Facebook ads Russian operatives used to sow division in the U.S. before and after the 2016 election, ranging from blatant political messages to lighthearted memes, Axios' David McCabe reports.

The thousands of ads ran from June 2015 to August 2017. Their release is accompanied by details of how they were targeted to users based on qualities including their interests, age and location.

Details: "Ads and other social media posts by the Internet Research Agency, working in St Petersburg, reached almost 150m users of Facebook and Instagram. Some 13 people linked to the group were indicted by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, this year." [FT]

Examples of the targeting, via the AP:

  • "Facebook users within 12 miles of Buffalo, New York, were directed to an event supporting justice for a black woman who died in a county jail."
  • "Another ad criticizing a Texas school teacher who lost her job after making racist remarks was aimed at adults living in Cleveland, Baltimore, St. Louis and Ferguson, Missouri."
  • "One ad that targeted African-Americans concerned about discrimination was only to be shown to users accessing Facebook on Wi-Fi, rather than cellular."

Go deeper: See more of the ads

2. What you missed

A photo taken through the window of a plane on May 10, 2018 shows apartment buildings in Moscow. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

  1. "Harvey Weinstein’s estranged wife, designer Georgina Chapman, is speaking out in a tearful interview. She says she never knew of her husband’s alleged misconduct, and weeps for their two small children." AP, citing Vogue.
  2. Niger report: "Institutional failures" and improper training, among other factors, led to the deadly ambush of U.S. soldiers last October, the Defense Department has concluded. Go deeper.
  3. The White House will establish a new committee on AI, bringing together officials from across the federal government. Details.
  4. Facebook stock has returned to pre-Cambridge Analytica scandal levels. Chart.
  5. What I'm reading: A series of excerpts from Sen. John McCain's forthcoming memoir made their way online today, touching on wide-ranging topics like the senator's relationship with Barack Obama, his feelings about Vladimir Putin, and his handling of the infamous Steele dossier. Read up.
  6. Bonus: Former CIA analyst Sue Mi Terry briefed us about the strategies Trump and Kim will use to negotiate at their June meeting. Watch.
3. 1 fun thing

Miami has approved a resolution to “bring the Formula 1 Racing Circuit to the City of Miami for the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix from 2019 to 2028," Bloomberg's Jason Tesauro reports.

  • "A U.S. expansion of the famed European racing league has been variously attempted for years; it’s a top priority for Liberty Media Corp., the new F1 owner."
  • "Las Vegas and New York (technically, New Jersey) have also been discussed."

By the numbers:

  • "F1 [has] ... 500 million global fans and 21 races across five continents, broadcast to 1.8 billion viewers and 15 million followers on social media."
  • "Currently, the only U.S. race takes place in Austin; it delivered $2.8 billion of benefits from 2012 to 2015 and generated more than 200,000 visitors during race weekends..."