This is all starting to make a lot more sense. For nearly a year now we've reported on leak after leak and rumor after rumor from the likes CNN, The New York Times and Washington Post alleging that Trump conspired with Russians to rig the 2016 presidential election all while being completely astonished by the lack tangible evidence being presented by those outlets in support of their rather serious allegations.
But, what if CNN was right all along except it wasn't Trump conspiring with the Russians to stage a coup in the U.S., but rather an evil, billionaire, tech mastermind with his eyes dead set on a 2020 run? What if, knowing that Hillary Clinton was on track to win the 2016 election in a landslide and likely to occupy the White House for eight years, Mark Zuckerberg knew something had to be done to clear his path to D.C. and sprung into action to undermine her campaign?
Moreover, what if we were to tell you the whole thing only cost $50,000 (insert Dr. Evil laugh) to orchestrate?
We're on to you, Zuck...
For those who didn't pick up on our 'subtle' sarcasm above, allow us to clarify...that was a joke.
That said, we can only assume that Facebook's press release today regarding alleged Russian advertising campaigns on Facebook was intended to be completely serious.
Apparently, after digging through advertising data for the better part of full year now, Facebook felt compelled to let us know that they found a 'staggering' $50,000 worth of ad buys that 'MAY' have been purchased by Russian-linked accounts to run 'potentially politically related' ads.
No really, Facebook, a $500 billion company, actually thinks that $50,000 worth of ad revenue is news and quite literally could have changed the course of American history.
Of course, if that kind of influence can be purchased for a mere $50,000 then Procter and Gamble needs to drastically rethink their advertising strategy.
All joking aside, here is what Facebook actually reported earlier today regarding the 2016 election:
One question that has emerged is whether there’s a connection between the Russian efforts and ads purchased on Facebook. These are serious claims and we’ve been reviewing a range of activity on our platform to help understand what happened.
In reviewing the ads buys, we have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 — associated with roughly 3,000 ads — that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies. Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.
In this latest review, we also looked for ads that might have originated in Russia — even those with very weak signals of a connection and not associated with any known organized effort. This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian — even though they didn’t necessarily violate any policy or law. In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads.
We don’t allow inauthentic accounts on Facebook, and as a result, we have since shut down the accounts and Pages we identified that were still active.
- The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the US presidential election, voting or a particular candidate.
- Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.
- About one-quarter of these ads were geographically targeted, and of those, more ran in 2015 than 2016.
We have shared our findings with US authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary.
Seriously? You're working with U.S. authorities on what exactly? On how you just proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that your website was in no way whatsoever used as a Russian propaganda machine to influence the election? We're sure the Trump administration thanks you for your service.
Of course, as ridiculous as it may sound to suggest that $50,000 worth of Facebook ads may have changed the outcome of a national election, we're almost certain that Hillary will try...after all, just yesterday she managed to blame this scene from "There's Something About Mary" for her loss...