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Charles Benavidez

Charles Benavidez

Staff Writer, Safehaven.com

Charles Benavidez is a writer and editor for Safehaven.com. Charles is located in New York City and has over 5 years of experiencing covering financial…

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Russia’s “Surreptitious Social Media Campaign”

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Setting politics and geopolitics aside, there is a gold mine of Russian-linked Facebook ads to be found in the recent release by the House Intelligence Committee of 3,500 Facebook and Instagram ads exposing a “surreptitious social media campaign” that led in February to the indictment of 13 Russians.

And far more important than the ads targeting Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during the campaign is a widespread and coordinated effort to sow mountains of discord and ensure that political polarization in America is irreversible.

The passive-aggressive game played by Russia focused on key issues burdening American society, and created a very organized campaign strategy to fuel violent passions on both sides of every issue.

While the average person might look at any one of these Russian-linked Facebook or Instagram ads and wonder ‘what’s so wrong with them’, the frightening truth is that this is exactly how to destroy a country from within.

Here are the Top 5 issues that Russia has attempted to intensify to the point of violent chaos in America:

#1 Race

America has a major race problem, and Russia is happy to help worsen that problem. This is how:

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It’s a great ad—until you consider the source. Because at the same time that they are targeting those who work for peace, there are attempting to sow discord with these ads:

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And they had very specific targets:

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#2 Police Brutality

Since race was one of the biggest Russian targets for its potential to become explosive in America and result in widespread violence, this campaign was multi-pronged and included much about the police, pitting cops and relevant segments of society against victims; making sure that both felt victimized to the point of potentially violent aggression.

They ran this:

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And this …

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Alongside this:

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#3 Beyoncé

They even tapped into Beyoncé, anti and pro, with this campaign:

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

#4 Where Patriotism Takes on New Meaning

There was also a clever mixture of issues all shoved under the convenient label of ‘patriotism’, and a sharp revisiting of the Civil War theme and Texan secession:

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

#5 Immigration

They also helped America further it’s polarization on immigration and were behind this long-running campaign:

(Click to enlarge)

And they targeted everyone aged 18 and up, excluding people who like ‘Stop A.I.’.

(Click to enlarge)

But you can’t intensify an issue and sow discord without making sure both sides are feeling the heat and being nudged along:

(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

And sometimes, even the hired hands of the propagators need to have a bit of fun, barring any subconscious brain-washing intention behind these two unexplainable Russian-backed ads:


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

All told, while the House Intelligence Committee released 3,500 ad posts linked to the Russians, that’s only a small portion of the 80,000 organic posts from Russia on Facebook and 120,000 on Instagram. Together, they reached 146 million Americans. So next time you think you know what you think on a major issue our society faces, stop and consider whether the thoughts are yours.

By Charles Benavidez for Safehaven.com

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