I’m sure you have seen the reports in the media recently that Russian Facebook ads influenced Americans during the 2016 election by reaching up to 126 million users on the social media platform.
Sounds horrifying, doesn’t it?
126 million people? That’s almost as many people than actually voted in the election!
As a result, US senators have lambasted Facebook for allowing it. The mainstream media have gone into overdrive with reports that Russian trolls changed people’s minds and made them vote for Trump.
CNN and MSNBC are having a field day with it. Rachel Maddow is no doubt having orgasms over the prospect of yet more ways she can link Trump to Russia.
There are knee-jerk reactions a-plenty. Twitter have even banned RT and Sputnik from taking out any ads on their network whatsoever.
There’s just one problem with it, though. The reports of this Russian “interference” are misleading at best, and at worst are outright lies.
5 Ways the Media is Lying to you about Facebook ads
Reason 1: Half of those ads were seen AFTER the election!
I know, right?
How on earth can something seen after the general election alter the way people voted in it? Are they assuming 63 million people had time machines that they used to go back and change their vote?
Here’s what Facebook said in their article dated October 2nd that proves this narrative is false:
“44% of total ad impressions (number of times ads were displayed) were before the US election on November 8, 2016; 56% were after the election.”
“…a single Russian operation in St. Petersburg generated about 80,000 posts and that roughly 29 million people potentially saw that content in their news feeds.
Because those posts were also liked, shared and commented on by Facebook users, the company estimates that as many as 126 million people may have seen material in their news feeds that originated from Russian operatives…”
There is no mention in the article at all that over half of the posts were seen in late 2017, after the election had finished.
In fact, the WaPo have already had to make a correction at the bottom of that article which stated the Russian “ads” had continued to rise even after Facebook had corrected the problem.
I suspect it won’t be the last correction they have to make on it.
So after one fact, the original “126 million” figure is cut by 56%. We have already reduced it to 55.5 million people who saw the ads.
Reason 2: 25% of the posts were NEVER seen by a person AT ALL!
Again we go back to the original Facebook statement dated October 2nd for proof:
“Roughly 25% of the ads were never shown to anyone. That’s because advertising auctions are designed so that ads reach people based on relevance, and certain ads may not reach anyone as a result.”
So in just 2 paragraphs from Facebook, the original “126 million” figure that is being thrown around by the media has been cut to:
That’s quite bad. We’ve already cut the original 126 million figure by over 80%, but we’re just getting started.
Reason 3: “Reach” on a Facebook ad and the amount of people who see it are two different things
Think about it.
How often do you click on a Facebook ad which is shown in your news feed?
Hardly ever, right?
Facebook “Reach” is just the number of people that actually saw the Ad on their news feed, not the amount of people that actually clicked on it and read the “fake” story. This is the sort of thing you would have seen on one of the “Russian” ads:
How many Clinton supporters or undecided voters do you think would click on that, read the obviously fake article, then decide to vote for Trump instead?
The average CTR (click-thru-rate) on a Facebook ad is 5%, and even the best social media ad campaigns would struggle to get 10%. So let’s use that high figure of 10% to assess how many actual people read the article, because just seeing an ad like the above isn’t going to influence anyone.
10 percent of 24 million, is just 2.4 million people.
Reason 4: Half of the ads were shown in deeply pro-Republican states
This is the part that amazes me the most, and also angers me most.
Half of all the people who saw these “Russian ads” were in deep-red states. No amount of pro-Trump or anti-Clinton articles was ever going to change the outcome in them. The electoral college does not give more votes to candidates if they win a state in a landslide.
So these ads were NEVER going to alter outcomes in them.
But it gets worse….
A good chunk of the ads taken out by supposed Russian agents during that period were not pro-Trump at all. In fact, some were pro-Clinton, and pro-Obama ads were also shown.
So, how would they have helped to put Trump in power?
Now we’re down to just over a million people, at the very most, who actually saw these “Russian” articles.
That’s just not going to swing anything, and it is deeply disturbing that the media is falsely pushing that narrative.
Reason 5: $100,000 in Facebook ads is NOTHING
Even if we were to take the 126 million figure as fact, that still only represents .004% of all the content users saw on Facebook during the 2 year period.
And then when you look at what each candidate spent during the 2016 election, $100k becomes a drop in the ocean.
Spending on the 2016 presidential race totaled $2.4 billion. Are the media seriously trying to tell us that Russia bought the Presidency of the United States for $100k?
This is what the mainstream media does though, it’s almost identical to how politicians operate. They cherry-pick facts or figures that confirm the narrative they are pushing, and it sickens me that they end up making me do something I despise.
I fucking hate Trump, I really do. He’s a narcissistic demagogue who only cares about money and himself.
So what I hate most about all of this is not that the media are lying, and it’s not that they’re red-baiting the public or bringing us closer to a new cold war with their lies and misleading information:
What I hate most is they’re forcing me to actually agree with Donald fucking Trump – The media really is “Fake News.”
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