Facebook is releasing the details about the Russian ad campaign that was part of their interference to get Trump elected, and the numbers are a how to guide for building an illegitimate US president.
According to Facebook:
– An estimated 10 million people saw the ads. We were able to approximate the number of unique people (“reach”) who saw at least one of these ads, with our best modeling
– 44% of the ads were seen before the US election on November 8, 2016; 56% were seen after the election.
– Roughly 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.
This means that before the election, 4.4 million people were exposed to the Russian Facebook ads. But Donald Trump only won the electoral college with 78,000 votes from three swing states, including Pennsylvania, of which I am a resident.
Trump supporters here in small town Pennsylvania would read Clinton Facebook feed conspiracies to me as if it were gospel during the election. They could not tear themselves away from Facebook. They did it during work, they did it when I was paying them for a service, they did it even when I asked them to stop, they did it even when their boss asked them to stop. The “news” they read to me from their Facebook feeds was, without fail, about Hillary Clinton doing something so awful and crazy there was no way to toss reality into the mix.
Whatever the Russians were doing, it was compelling; it functioned like a drug on a vulnerable population.
Donald Trump barely squeaked by with an electoral college win, and with these Facebook numbers, it’s becoming increasingly clear that he only did that with the help of the Russians posting fake news on Facebook. It took exposing 4.4 million people to Russian propaganda meant to help elect Donald Trump for Trump to eek out 78,000 votes from three swing states to win.
That’s not only sad, it spells illegitimate.
Correction October 3rd 1:25PM: Updated to correct “4,400,000 million” to correct 4.4. million in lower paragraph.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.