American Racism and Religious-ism Were Used by the Russians as Weapons Against us in Social Media.

Leveraging the hate espoused by candidate Trump during his campaign, the Russians exploited racism and religious-ism in half of the Facebook ads they purchased in support of their candidate.

The top ad, with 1.3 million views, was a
Back the Badgepage, targeting users who liked law enforcement friendly pages such as Police Wives Unite and Officer Down Memorial. This came after a summer of 100 Black Lives Matter protests, police shooting protests and Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest. The next day, USA Today’s analysis showed that ads targeting people who liked Black history included “driving while Black” and police brutality being a dominant issue.

With 25 million views of ads covering race, crime or policing, immigration and guns, they jumped from 44 per month in 2015 to 400 per month right before the election. After the election, 900 per month were posted until May 2017, according to USA Today’s analysis.

People were targeted by interest, category and even by city, Wired reported. Ads published by the page Black Matters targeted those in Baltimore, Md., and Ferguson, Mo., where there were racism and police brutality headlines. Those who were interested in Hillary Clinton and the Muslim Brotherhood had an ad on the United Muslims of America showing Clinton smiling with a woman in a hijab, and invited people to attend an event entitled “Support Hillary. Save American Muslims.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., tweeted in response to the analysis:

In the election Clinton used intellect, while Trump went after raw hate, a study published in the Journal of Quantitative Linguistics shows. In November 2015, when it was reported that a BLM protester was assaulted outside Trump’s Alabama rally, Trump suggested, Maybe he should have been roughed up.” He incited violence to his all white supporters. In June 2015, his speech at Trump Tower demonized Mexicans: They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” And in addition to his retweets of anti-Muslim violence videos, he proposed a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” instituted a ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. and desired a database of all Muslims in America.

While the Russians stirred the racial pot, content online is racist without the Russians, Bret Schafer of the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy told USA Today.

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