Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released copies of 14 Facebook ads purchased by Russian trolls around the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including sponsored posts on Instagram trying to link “Killary Clinton” to the death of U.S. troops.
Some of the political ads targeted Facebook or Instagram users based on their interests in Christianity, Rush Limbaugh, the war in Afghanistan and more, according to details shared by the panel. In some cases, they garnered thousands of impressions — views, but not necessarily “Likes” or clicks — on Facebook platforms.
In total, Facebook has said that ads run by Russian agents over a two-year period around Election Day in 2016 reached 10 million U.S. users. Organic content there may have reached as many as 126 million U.S. users, too. And some Russian-driven content reached an additional 20 million users on Instagram, the company revealed Wednesday during a hearing before congressional investigators.
“Russia exploited real vulnerabilities that exist across online platforms and we must identify, expose and defend ourselves against similar covert influence operations in the future,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee before the ads were unveiled.
“The companies here today must play a central role as we seek to better protect legitimate political expression, while preventing cyberspace from being misused by our adversaries,” he said.
One of the ads comes from an account called “_american.made,” and its sponsored Instagram ad targeted a favorable message about guns to users — perhaps even those as young as age 13 — whose interests included the Tea Party or Trump, the committee said. It cost more than 17,000 rubles (which is about $291), garnered 850 clicks and had 108,000 impressions.
Another ad from an account called “american.veterans” in August of 2016 linked Clinton with the deaths of U.S. service members — and apparently sought to sell T-shirts.
This event by “Black Matters” opposed Donald Trump: It ran after Election Day, and it reached few viewers, but it sought to get mobile and desktop Facebook users who follow the group to show up at a protest in New York City.
And yet other Russian-tied ads touted events, part of a broader strategy by the IRA to foster protests — sometimes by stoking supporters of both sides of an issue. The page “Heart of Texas,” for example, targeted users in that state in the bid to promote a pro-secession rally in November 2016. It had about 16,000 impressions.
Still another ad from “Heart of Texas” blamed Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama for an influx of criminals crossing the border — and targeted prospective followers based on their interest in “patriotism.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.