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Buying Into the American Ad

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The first eight months of Donald Trump’s presidential reign have been nothing short of controversial. From accusing a variety of different news and media outlets of being “fake news,” to a nonstop tweeting spree during his presidential run, the United States has endured a President the likes of which it has never seen.

Arguably, the most controversial issue of all is whether or not there was any interference by Russia during the 2016 election in order to influence the American people’s vote.

On September 6th, Russia’s involvement in the election became far more evident with reports coming out that staff members of Facebook briefed the Senate and House Intelligence Committees that a Russian company, known as the Internet Research Agency, bought over one hundred thousand dollars worth of ads from the globally popular social media site. The ads, which ran from June 2015 through May 2017, focused on issues that would cause division with the American people, such as race, gay rights, gun control, as well as immigration, all without mentioning any particular candidate.

According to a New York Times article published on September 6th, 2017, Mr. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief information security officer, said “We have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary.”

From there, an article published by The Washington Post on Thursday, stated that after initially refusing to share the ads due to the fear of compromising users privacy, Mark Zuckerberg announced on September 21st, 2017, that Facebook would in fact give Congress over 3,000 political advertisements, helping to further shed some light on what has been an increasingly alarming situation.

Speaking on Facebook Live, Mr. Zuckerberg said, “Facebook’s mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are deeply democratic values, and we’re proud of them. I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for.”

The founder of Facebook went on to discuss plans to actively stop this type of thing from repeating itself, such as being more diligent in the review of political ads, as well as looking more closely at who is purchasing the ads.

It should be noted that Facebook has not released any of the advertisements for the American people to see, nor have they given a number in regards to how many people may have been exposed to the ads. However, they have begun to map out hopeful ways to eliminate deceit to the American voter through propaganda. As people of a society that face an everyday battle between truth and fiction, transparency is a big step towards trust.

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The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.
Buying Into the American Ad