FILE – In this Tuesday, April 18, 2017, file photo, conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, Calif. Facebook announced Tuesday, June 27, 2017, that it now has more than 2 billion users. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)
Last week the Facebook VP for advertising, Rob Goldman, stirred up a hornet’s nest of Wrong-thinkTM when he tweeted his opinion on the impact of Russian spending on Facebook ads in the context of Mueller’s indictment of people and entities that have no ties to the U.S. on Friday.
The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. 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. https://t.co/2dL8Kh0hof
— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
Since then, Goldman has been forced to express regret for triggering people by speaking the truth. That is to be expected. The people who believe Russia actually cared who won the election are, in my view, nothing more than a pathetic little cult that should be lining up for their cup of Flavor-Aid.
What Goldman said merely accentuates what was entered into the public record when the head of Facebook and Twitter testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is how Senator Richard Burr summed up their testimony.
What you haven’t heard is that almost five times more ads were targeted at the state of Maryland than of Wisconsin. Maryland, which was targeted by 262 ads in comparison to Wisconsin’s 55 ads. And Maryland was not up for grabs. It was a state that Democrat candidate carried by 26%.
Of the – 35 of the 55 ads targeted at Wisconsin ran prior to the Wisconsin primary, before there was an identified Republican candidate. And moreover, that not one of those 55 ads mentioned President Donald Trump by name. Or that the key election state of Pennsylvania had fewer ads targeted at it than Washington, D.C. where 87% of the electorate voted for Hillary Clinton. Or that the three most heavily targeted states in America, Maryland, Missouri, and New York, were all determined by at least 18-point margin and two of them won by Hillary Clinton.
One point the media has gotten correct is that more of these geographically targeted ads ran in 2015 than in 2016. Again, before President Trump was identified as a Republican candidate for president.
But some of the context surrounding the more than 100,000 dollars worth of divisive ads on hot button is issues purchased by Russian actors is missing. To add some detail here, where the media has failed to do it, and put the $100,000 into a frame of reference, the total ad spend for the state of Wisconsin was $1,979. with all but $54 being spent before the primary. Again, before the emergence of a Republican candidate. The ad spend in the state of Michigan was $823. Pennsylvania, $300.
To believe the narrative that you have to accept that these sophisticated, well-resourced Russian actors studied our process, assessed what states would be critical to the election result, then snuck and invested all of $300 to execute their plan in Pennsylvania. $300. More than five times as much money was spend on advertising in California , a state that hasn’t voted Republican in presidential elections since 1988.
As I said in my review of Mueller’s indictment. These people were not political people. They weren’t supervised by political people. And for good reason. They really didn’t care who won or lost. They were trying to crate dissent and confusion and, thanks to the people who insist Trump was helped by the Russians, they have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.