This "Russian Influence" Campaign
Is Just A Click-Bait Scheme
- Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads
which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to
have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S.
presidential election in favor of Trump.
turns out that these Facebook ads had nothing to do
with the election. The mini-ads were bought to
promote click-bait pages and sites. These pages and
sites were created and then promoted to sell further
advertisement. The media though, has still not
understood the issue.
September 6 the NYT
new evidence of Russian interference in the 2016
election, Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that
it had identified more than $100,000 worth of
divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by a
shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.
The disclosure adds to the evidence of the broad
scope of the Russian influence campaign, which
American intelligence agencies concluded was
designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost
Donald J. Trump during the election.
Congress investigation the current one concerned
with Facebook ads is leaking like a sieve. What
oozes out makes little sense.
aimed to make Congress and U.S. media a laughing
stock it surely achieved that.
says that the ads
were posted "in disguise" by "the Russians" to
promote variously themed Facebook pages:
“Defend the 2nd,” a Facebook page for gun-rights
supporters, festooned with firearms and tough
rhetoric. There was a rainbow-hued page for gay
rights activists, “LGBT United.” There was even
a Facebook group for animal lovers with
memes of adorable puppies that spread across the
site with the help of paid ads.
No one has
explained how these pages are supposed to be
connected to a Russian "influence" campaign. It is
unexplained how these are supposed to connected to
the 2016 election. That is simply asserted because
Facebook said, for unknown reasons, that these ads
may have come from some Russian agency. How Facebook
has determined that is not known.
detail that leaks from the "Russian ads"
investigation the propaganda framework of "election
manipulation" falls further apart:
Monday, Facebook said in a post that about 10
million people had seen the ads in question.
About 44 percent of the ads were seen
before the 2016 election and the rest after, the
original story propagandized that "Russia" intended
to influence the election in favor of Trump. But why
then was the majority of the ads in questions run
later after November 9? And how would an
animal-lovers page with adorable puppy pictures help
to achieve Trumps election victory?
via the Wall Street
25% of the ads were never shown to anyone.
That’s because advertising auctions are designed
so that ads reach people based on relevance, and
certain ads may not reach anyone as a result.
For 50% of the ads, less than $3 was spent; for
99% of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent.
3,000 ads Facebook originally claimed were "Russian"
only 2,200 were ever viewed. Most of the
advertisements were mini-ads which, for the price of
a coffee, promoted private pages related to hobbies
and a wide spectrum of controversial issues. The
majority of the ads ran after the election.
"adds to the evidence of the broad scope of the
Russian influence campaign ... designed to damage
Hillary Clinton and boost Donald J. Trump during the
But the NYT
still finds "experts" who believe in the "Russian
influence" nonsense and find the most stupid
reasons to justify their claims:
Clinton Watts, a former F.B.I. agent now at the
Foreign Policy Research Institute in
Philadelphia, said Russia had been
entrepreneurial in trying to develop diverse
channels of influence.
Some, like the dogs page, may
have been created without a specific goal and
held in reserve for future use.
pictures for "future use"?
described and the ads leading to them are typical
for-profit scheme runs as follows:
pages with "hot" stuff that attracts lots of
viewers. One creates ad-space on these pages and
fills it with Google ads. One promotes the spiked
pages by buying $3 Facebook mini-ads for them.
thousand users will come and look at a page. Some
will 'like' the puppy pictures or the rant against
LGBT and further spread the page. Some will click
the promoted Google ads. Money then flows into the
pocket of the page creator.
automatize, rinse and repeat this scheme forever.
Each such page is a small effort for a small
revenue. But the scheme is highly scale-able and
parts of it can be automatized.
This is, in
essence, the same business model traditional media
publishers use. One creates "news" and controversies
to attract readers. The attention of the readers is
then sold to advertisers. But this is no longer a
closed off oligarchic business. One no longer needs
reporters or a printing press to join in. Anyone can
now take part in it.
learned after the
election that some youths in Macedonia created whole
"news"-websites filled with highly attractive but
fake partisan stories. They were not interested in
the veracity or political direction of their
content. Their only interest was to attract viewers.
They made thousands of dollars by selling
advertisements on their sites:
said his monthly revenue was in the four
figures, a considerable sum in a country where
the average monthly pay is 360 euros ($383). As
he navigated his site’s statistics, he dropped
nuggets of journalism advice.
to write what people want to see, not what you
want to show,” he said, scrolling through The
Political Insider’s stories as a large banner
read “ARREST HILLARY NOW.”
Facebook ads Congress is investigating are part of a
similar scheme. The mini-ads promoted pages with hot
button issues and click-bait puppy pictures. These
pages were themselves created to generate ad-clicks
and revenue. As Facebook claims that "Russia" is
behind them, we will likely find some Russian teens
who simply repeated the scheme their Macedonian
friends were running on.
"Russian influence" scare campaign the NYT follows
the same business model. It is producing fake news
which attracts viewers and readers who's attention
is then sold to advertisers. Facebook is also
profiting from this. Its current piecemeal release
of vague information keeps its name in the news.
mystery of "Russian" $3 ads for "adorable puppies"
pages on Facebook has been solved, Congress and the
New York Times will have to move on. There next
subject is probably the "Russian influence campaign"
Russian Car Crash Compilations
have for years attracted millions of viewers. The
"Russian" motive behind these videos is to increase
the road rage on U.S. highways. This again will -
according to expert Clinton Watts - "amplify
divisive political issues across the political
car crash compilations, like the puppy pages, are
another sign that
Russia is waging war against the people of the
believe that? You should. Trust your experienced
3:45 PM - 3 Oct 2017
This gets more chilling daily:
now we learn Russia targeted Americans on
Facebook by “demographics, geography, gender &
interests,” across websites & devices, reached
millions, kept going after Nov. An attack on all
Americans, not just HRC campaign
gets more chilling. It's fall. It also generates ad
article was originally published by
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