Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Discloses Information About 2016 Presidential Election Ads Linked to Russian Company

Scott Shane and Vindu Goel, New York Times:

Providing 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.

Most of the 3,000 ads did not refer to particular candidates but instead focused on divisive social issues such as race, gay rights, gun control and immigration, according to a post on Facebook by Alex Stamos, the company’s chief security officer. The ads, which ran between June 2015 and May 2017, were linked to some 470 fake accounts and pages the company said it had shut down.

Via John Gruber, who writes:

$100,000 (for about 3,000 total ads) is chump change for Facebook. In fact, chump change is probably too strong a word. Facebook reported $9.3 billion in revenue last quarter. There are 86,400 seconds in a day, and about 91 days per fiscal quarter. That means Facebook generates about $1,200 in revenue every second of every day.

Gruber’s right. $100,000 also isn’t a lot of money for a single major advertiser to spend — the Trump campaign spent 1,500 times as much. But it is a decent-sized lump of money for a single company that is ostensibly associated with a foreign government to spend on political ads — any money is a lot to spend by a government-connected company on ads for hot-button issues in another country.

See Also: Zeynep Tufekci on Twitter.