President Donald Trump found an unlikely ally in his mission to convince the internet that Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election didn’t actually help get him elected: Facebook advertising executive Rob Goldman.
Goldman, Facebook’s VP of ad products, sent a series of tweets late Friday that said, among other things, that “swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal” of the thousands of dollars of Facebook ads bought by Russian actors during and after the 2016 election.
“Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal,” Goldman wrote Friday.
Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
“The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election,” he continued, linking to this post from Facebook’s blog. “We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election.”
The tweets came about 24 hours after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals for “seeking to interfere in the United States political system, including the 2016 Presidential election.” Mueller’s report did say that Russia’s social media campaign included “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”
Trump pounced on Saturday, retweeting both of Goldman’s tweets and adding his own commentary.
“The Fake News Media never fails,” he tweeted. “Hard to ignore this fact from the Vice President of Facebook Ads, Rob Goldman!”
The Fake News Media never fails. Hard to ignore this fact from the Vice President of Facebook Ads, Rob Goldman! https://t.co/XGC7ynZwYJ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018
What went unsaid in these tweets is that there were thousands of posts shared on Facebook and other social networking sites, like Twitter, that were not ads, but still reached millions of potential voters. Facebook said that ads purchased by Russian sources reached 10 million users, but all posts from Russian accounts — including non-ads that were posted for free — reached as many as 126 million users.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.