Yet the ridiculous idea of Russian influence in the election is being used to justify censorship and delegitimize Trump’s Presidency.
Anyone taking the Russian influence story seriously is highly stupid, a brazen fraud, or doesn’t realize what is being claimed. We’re basically being told that for a few hundred thousand dollars you can control who rules a superpower through social media. It’s total nonsense. If someone had offered this theory as the plot of a movie, no one would have accepted it as fiction.
Vanity Fair reports, “‘Significantly Abnormal’: How Russia’s Absurdist Facebook Ads Broke the Election.”
Under fire for its cavalier attitude toward Russia’s election meddling, Facebook has gradually acknowledged the vast scope of the influence campaign that was waged across Americans’ news feeds, in posts shared by friends and political ads that quickly went viral. The numbers, at first glance, seem staggering. Of the thousands of ads that Facebook says were purchased by the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-connected propaganda outlet, about 11.4 million people were targeted. This week, Facebook executives testified before Congress that those ads organically reached about 140 million more. “I don’t think you get it,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said, chastising Facebook, Twitter, and Google for downplaying their impact. “What we’re talking about is the beginning of cyber warfare.”
Still, it’s hard to know whether to take the ads, some of which were released Wednesday, seriously. One ad, which urged conservatives to “say a strong NO to the establishment bank robbers” and to attend a “Get Ready to Secede” event three days before the election, was seen by 16,168 people and clicked on 2,342 times, costing Russia 3,200 rubles, or $55. But others appear to have fallen flat. A cartoon depicting Satan and Jesus arm wrestling, with the text “Hillary is a Satan” and “Press ‘like’ to help Jesus win,” was seen by only 71 people, costing $1.10. Another, showing a coloring-book illustration of one-time Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders flexing in a Speedo in front of the White House, didn’t fare much better.
The ads were obviously amateurish, fueling criticism on the right that their impact has been overstated. But experts believe that Americans were primed to be manipulated.
No, media and political “experts” are hoping that Americans are primed now, or they wouldn’t repeat this absurd claim. We haven’t been told such obvious garbage since George W. Bush said that the East Coast was in danger of being struck by Iraqi drones.
These are the ads that Democrats say flipped the election? Laughable. https://t.co/MBMO0aRglq
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) November 1, 2017
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