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CNN reports Michigan, Wisconsin targeted by Facebook ads connected to Russia

Oct 4, 2017

Congress is investigating ways Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 election, especially through social media.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify at a hearing on Nov. 1. The House Intelligence Committee will do the same sometime this month.

Now, an exclusive report from CNN puts Michigan at the center of this investigation – with Russian trolls and Facebook ads.

Dylan Byers, a senior reporter for media and politics at CNN, is one of the reporters behind that story, and he joined Stateside today.

CNN reports a number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin.
Credit Anthony Quintano / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Byers’ story cites four sources with direct knowledge of this Russian trolling. He said those sources say a portion of at least 3,000 Russian-bought Facebook ads were targeted toward Michigan and Wisconsin.

Some of the ads tried to “stoke anti-Muslim sentiment,” he said, while others had to do with race, immigration, refugees, and gun rights.

“I mean, it really spans the full spectrum of sort of hot-button political issues,” Byers said. “But the fact that some of these ads were targeted toward Michigan and Wisconsin is significant because … Donald Trump won the election there by a margin of less than one percent.”

Byers said he’s also been in conversation with Facebook, and with folks on Capitol Hill.

“Have they confirmed that this influenced the election? No,” he said. “Are they worried that it might have played a role in influencing the election? Yes.”

Listen above for the full conversation. You’ll hear how these ads could end up unveiling evidence of collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign. 

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