Facebook says an estimated 10 million U.S. users viewed at least one of the over 3000 political ads it says were bought by accounts linked to the Russian government before, during, and after the 2016 election.
Facebook disclosed the figures for the first time on Monday. Political experts say this shows the effectiveness of Russian meddling with a minimal investment. CNN (@cnn) reports that the ad buyers spent a little over $100,000 over a two year period to target 10 million people, according to the figures that Facebook has provided about the buy ads. That’s an audience equivalent to the state of Michigan. More than half of the ads were seen after the 2016 presidential election, indicating that Russian efforts went well beyond meddling during the campaign, and probably continue to this day.
44% of the ads were seen before the U.S. election on Nov. 8, 2016. 56% were seen after the election, according to Elliot Schrange, Facebook’s Vice President For Policy & Communications. Schrange acknowledged that it was possible there were more Russian-bought political ads on the network that Facebook has yet to identify.