Last week we jokingly wrote about a Facebook press release that was apparently an honest effort by the social media giant intended to summarize Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election using their social media platform.
That said, at least to us, it seemed as though Facebook unwittingly proved what a farce the entire 'Russian collusion' narrative has become as, after digging through advertising data for the better part of full year, Facebook reported 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.
Now, just in case it isn't crystal clear why the above statement is so ridiculous, please allow us to demonstrate with one simple chart. This is how the $50,000 worth of 'Russian' ad buys on Facebook compares to the $1.2 billion that Hillary spent on her campaign...please note, this is not a mistake...the $50k literally isn't even big enough to show up on the chart.
All of which means that one of the following three things is true: i) Facebook delivers the greatest ROIC to advertisers in the history of mankind, ii) Hillary is the worst allocator of capital ever or iii) this whole narrative is just beyond dumb.
Of course, despite this relatively simplistic explanation of why Facebook went 'full retard' in their attempt to prove that Russians used their website to throw a presidential election, Democrats in Congress apparently don't get the joke. As The Hill pointed out earlier today, Senate Democrats on the Intelligence Committee are inexplicably using the new Facebook advertising 'revelations' from last week to demand a public hearing with a handful of social media giants including Facebook and Twitter.
The top lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee have both signaled interest in having officials from Facebook and Twitter testify about Russian interference on their platforms during the 2016 presidential election.
Warner has been pushing for the companies' officials to testify before the Senate panel, and on Tuesday he weighed in on a report that Russian agents used Facebook to promote protests in the U.S., including an anti-immigrant protest in August 2016 during the campaign.
Facebook shared some details with Warner last week regarding Russia's election interference. Warner said the company did not reveal to him that Russian actors had created Facebook event pages for anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rallies, which the Daily Beast reported Tuesday.
“I’m disappointed that Facebook didn’t come forward with this information about the Russians pushing people to anti-immigration rallies,” Warner told reporters.
“That somehow that was something they didn’t think was relevant, which is again why I think this is the tip of the iceberg. There’s going to be, I think, much more," he said. “I question whether Facebook has put near the resources they need into getting us all the facts."
Warner said that he has been frustrated by Facebook’s limited disclosures on Kremlin-connected groups using the platform to influence U.S. politics, noting that the company has only revealed a single “troll farm” involved, the Internet Research Group.
Meanwhile, Reuters may have just stumbled upon the key piece of evidence proving that the Russians managed to change the course of American history with just $50,000 in ad buys. Apparently, one series of ads was so effective that it managed to attract the "interest" of 48 people on Facebook to an "anti-immigrant" rally in Idaho...and 4 of them even said they went (again, this is not a typo...that's 4 people, not 4,000 or 400,000...no, just 4).
The Daily Beast, the news website that first reported on the promoted events posted on Facebook, said one advertisement promoted an anti-immigrant rally in Idaho in August 2016.
The rally was hosted by a Facebook group called “Secured Borders,” which was a Russian front and is now suspended, according to the Daily Beast.
Some 48 people on Facebook expressed an interest in the Idaho event and four said they went, according to a copy of the event page archived by Google’s search engine.
For the record, Idaho hasn't been a contended state since Lyndon Johnson won it for Democrats in 1964.
So there you have, $50,000 in Russian ad buys on Facebook convinced 4 people to attend and anti-immigrant rally in Idaho and that changed the course of American history forever.
On other news, yes, this is real life.