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Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.These targeted messages, along with others that have surfaced in recent days, highlight the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another.The Trump campaign used these tools to great effect, while Clinton’s campaign preferred to rely on its own social media experts, according to people familiar with the campaigns.
The divisive themes seized on by Russian operatives were similar to those that Trump and his supporters pushed on social media and on right-wing websites during the campaign. Critics say Trump, as president, has further inflamed racial and religious divisions, citing his controversial statements after violent clashes in Charlottesville and limits imposed on Muslim immigration.
The previously undisclosed ads suggest that the operatives worked off evolving lists of racial, religious, political and economic themes.
They used these to create pages, write posts and craft ads that would appear in users’ news feeds — with the apparent goal of appealing to one audience and alienating another. “The idea of using Facebook to incite anti-black hatred and anti-Muslim prejudice and fear while provoking extremism is an old tactic.
During the height of election season, political campaigns are among the largest advertisers on Facebook.
Facebook has built a large sales staff of account executives, some of whom have backgrounds in politics, who are trained to assist campaigns in spreading their messages, increasing engagement and getting immediate feedback on how they are performing.
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