We had some bombshell testimony by the social media giants sitting before Congress Wednesday. Top lawyers from Facebook and Twitter said that Russian-linked posts and advertisements placed on the social networks after Election Day sought to sow doubt about President Donald Trump’s victory.
Why haven’t we heard this? Russians are out to get Trump.
Russia’s goal has been to sow discord. It is likely don’t care who wins the U.S. election. Putin said he didn’t care who won.
Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch told a Senate Judiciary panel that content generated by a Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg known as the Internet Research Agency after Nov. 8 centered on “fomenting discord about the validity of [Trump’s] election.”
After the election, the activity continued in that there was a continued effort to sow discord “about the validity of his election.” It continued until they “disabled the accounts”.
“Viewed in the aggregate, the activity, again, really appears to address a wide range of hot button topics and appears directed at fomenting discord and inflaming discourse,” Colin Stretch told a persistent Senator Graham who then asked about volume.
“About approximately 90% of the volume we saw on the ad side appears to be issues based, primarily a much smaller proportion were directed at particular candidates,” Mr. Stretch said. When asked about the total volume of the material on the site, the Facebook lawyer said it was a very small percentage, it “…was approximately 0.0004% of the content in news feed during the time period in question.”
“During the election, they were trying to create discord between Americans, most of it directed against Clinton. After the election you saw Russian-tied groups and organizations trying to undermine President Trump’s legitimacy. Is that what you saw on Facebook?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked at the hearing.
Stretch and his Twitter counterpart, Sean Edgett, called that an “accurate” statement.
This needs clarifying. The ads only represented about .0004% of Facebook content and 90% of that was aimed at issues. Of the remaining 10%, most were aimed at Hillary (who was the presumed winner of the election). Directing the majority of this content at Hillary might have simply been because they thought she’d win.