Probe Into Russian-Backed Facebook Ads Hits Home

November 11, 2017
By

By John Lynds

A Congressional probe into Russian meddling during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election has uncovered pro-Trump ads that were allegedly purchased by the Russians on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. One Facebook ad released by Congress last week made mention of the October, 2016 shooting of Officers Richard Cintolo and Matthew Morris as a way to pump up President Donald Trump’s base and paint candidate Hilary Clinton as soft on crime.

Facebook, as well as Google and Twitter, recently came forward and presented information to Congress that showed how foreign agents used social media ad buys to disrupt last year’s Presidential Election by presenting false or misleading interpretations of national news stories.

A few dozen of the nearly 3,000 ads turned over to Congress were made public last week.

In those few dozen Russian-linked ads, one mentioned the shooting of Cintolo and Morris. The ad, posted by ‘Being Patriotic,’ describes the shootout between the Boston officers and suspect, Kirk Figueroa. The ad also shows a picture of police officers carrying a fallen brother to his grave with the headline, “Another Gruesome Attack on Police By A BLM (Black Lives Matter) Movement Activist”.  The ad went on to call attention to a “war with police” and identifying Clinton as a “the main hardliner against cops.” Democrats and liberals cannot “secure the police from attacks of extremist movements like Black Lives Matter,” the ad said.

Both Cintolo and Morris suffered life-threatening injuries during the shoot-out with Figeroa, who was later shot dead by other officers who responded to the scene.

However, there was no evidence that linked Figeroa to the BLM movement or any other movement either domestic or foreign.

Boston Police have maintained that the shoot out was the result of a domestic incident hat quickly turned deadly when Figeroa did not comply with officers’ commands.

Facebook disclosed that social media content generated by a Russian group, the Internet Research Agency, potentially reached as many as 126 million users with ads like the one depicting the shootout between Cintolo, Morris and Figeroa.

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