Facebook’s Russian Propaganda Was Probably Shared Hundreds of Millions of Times

Internet • Views: 30,580

A few days ago on Twitter I made a point to MSNBC host Chris Hayes about the ads placed by Russian front groups on Facebook, after he said on his show that it seemed like $100,000 was just a “drop in the bucket” as advertising costs go:

After I tweeted this, I immediately heard from a gaggle of right wing trolls and Trump cultists mocking and deriding my comment, demanding proof, throwing insults, you know the drill.

Well, now we have a study from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University that backs up my statement very nicely: Russian propaganda may have been shared hundreds of millions of times, new research says.

Facebook has said ads bought by Russian operatives reached 10 million of its users.

But does that include everyone reached by the information operation? Couldn’t the Russians also have created simple — and free — Facebook posts and hoped they went viral? And if so, how many times were these messages seen by Facebook’s massive user base?

The answers to those questions, which social media analyst Jonathan Albright studied for a research document he posted online Thursday, are: No. Yes. And hundreds of millions — perhaps many billions — of times.

“The primary push to influence wasn’t necessarily through paid advertising,” said Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. “The best way to to understand this from a strategic perspective is organic reach.”

In other words, to understand Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election, the frame should not be the reach of the 3,000 ads that Facebook handed over to Congress and that were bought by a single Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency. Instead, the frame should be the reach of all the activity of the Russian-controlled accounts — each post, each “like,” each comment and also all of the ads. Looked at this way, the picture shifts dramatically.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Editorial: Kobach Is Desperate for Trump’s Approval Kris Kobach has been running a Trump-style gubernatorial campaign since the day he announced. From his empty insistence that there’s a “culture of corruption” in Topeka to his argument that the Legislature’s decision to repeal Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax ...
Thanos
6 hours, 11 minutes ago
Views: 85 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
First Aid Kit - It’s a Shame"It's a Shame" by First Aid Kit is available now: smarturl.it Production Company: Slutet är Nära / slutetarnara.se Director: Mats UddProducer: Petra KrigströmExecutive Producer: Alexandros Bakos Lyrics: genius.com Follow First Aid Kit: firstaidkitband.com facebook.com @firstaidkitband instagram.com
Thanos
1 day, 5 hours ago
Views: 170 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - American Girl10/13/2017 Encore on night 4 of Ryman residency
Thanos
1 day, 5 hours ago
Views: 182 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
WALK the MOON - Headphones Get WALK THE MOON's “One Foot” and "Headphones" Instantly When You Pre-Order The New Album 'What If Nothing':iTunes - wtmband.comAmazon - wtmband.comSpotify Pre-Save - wtmband.comGoogle Play - wtmband.comMerch Store - wtmband.com Stream "Headphones" Now:Apple Music - wtmband.comSpotify - wtmband.com ...
Thanos
1 day, 5 hours ago
Views: 150 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Nightmare at PDX In all, Cristina was held for 48 hours with the jail population, though she had committed no crime. She was treated poorly, and denied medical treatment when she requested it. She had no money in her jail phone account ...
Thanos
4 days, 17 hours ago
Views: 725 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
First-Ever Sex Discrimination Legal Network Is Ready to Defend Women in Trump’s America Shortly after the election, the attorneys and advocates who work at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) started having a conversation. It seemed that the incoming Trump administration was likely to move backward on enforcing civil rights, loosening regulations, ...
Birth Control Works
5 days, 15 hours ago
Views: 750 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Meet Rhiannon Giddens, Newly Minted MacArthur ‘Genius’ As a solo artist — and, before that, as a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops — singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens has made a career out of revitalizing and invigorating decades' worth of music reflecting the African-American experience. That's meant ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 1,177 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Lies About Black America Are ‘Central’ to Gun Ownership: A Reporter on What We Get Wrong About Gun Violence Lies that the GOP and Donald Trump promote all day long. “If you look at the neighborhoods where [gun violence] is most clustered,” Beckett said, it’s located in areas with high levels of poverty, low levels of education, and ...
Unshaken Defiance
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 1,774 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 63 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 2
Comments: 0
: 2
St. Vincent Performs ‘Los Ageless’ One of Stephen's very favorite singer-songwriters collaborates with three pairs of boots to perform a song off her new album "Masseduction". Subscribe To "The Late Show" Channel HERE: bit.lyFor more content from "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert", click ...
Thanos
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 1,414 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer (Official) Watch the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and see it in theaters December 15. Get your tickets now: fandango.com Visit Star Wars at starwars.comSubscribe to Star Wars on YouTube at youtube.comLike Star Wars on Facebook at ...
Thanos
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 1,365 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0