These 30 Facebook ads were shared by Russian trolls just days before the 2016 election. Some were so subtle, you probably didn't realise they were ads.

Congress last week released 3,500 Facebook ads planted by Russian operatives who planned to create divisions among Americans in the year leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

To many, the ads – paid for by the Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency – weren’t easily distinguishable from the rest. Some were directly about the election, but most of the ads were subtler, created to appeal to people’s race, religion, or other aspects of their personal lives.

In October, the House Intelligence Committee Democrats shared a handful of the ads with the public. This time, it released all the ads that ran on Facebook and Instagram from June 2015 to August 2017, to give Facebook users a more comprehensive look at the ads they have been hearing about for almost a year.

Here are some of the ads Russians created on Facebook, specifically in the week leading up to the election:


A few ads were very clearly political. A common thread was to encourage groups of voters to cast their ballots for a third-party candidate, or simply not vote at all.

Cost: $US7.54

Impressions 8,498

Clicks: 584

Creation date: 11/8/16


Many of the ads released by the House Intelligence Committee Democrats specifically targeted African-American voters.

Cost: $US8.11

Impressions 18,888

Clicks: 1,635

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US4.87

Impressions 31,096

Clicks: 3,516

Creation date: 11/3/16


Other posts were less obviously about the election — perhaps a bid to build legitimacy for the pages created by the Russian troll farm.

Cost: $US8.11

Impressions 43,022

Clicks: 6,981

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US6.20

Impressions 18,656

Clicks: 1,918

Creation date: 11/1/16


Cost: $US9.19

Impressions 666

Clicks: 25

Creation date: 11/2/16


Cost: $US6.49

Impressions 31,308

Clicks: 3,704

Creation date: 11/1/16


Cost: $US8.11

Impressions 152,716

Clicks: 19,558

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US3.05

Impressions 5,940

Clicks: 621

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US167.10

Impressions 95,896

Clicks: 6,780

Creation date: 11/8/16


Cost: $US4.87

Impressions 24,447

Clicks: 4,022

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US2.83

Impressions 1,739

Clicks: 150

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US8.22

Impressions 22,088

Clicks: 4,372

Creation date: 11/1/16


Cost: $US8.11

Impressions 64,032

Clicks: 11,056

Creation date: 11/3/16


The most common kind of ads created by the Russian troll farm were about police brutality, and the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police officers.

Cost: $US2.78

Impressions 3,201

Clicks: 273

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US77.73

Impressions 18,717

Clicks: 1,594

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US1.62

Impressions 1,271

Clicks: 88

Creation date: 11/7/16


Cost: $US19.46

Impressions 1,304

Clicks: 65

Creation date: 11/7/16


Cost: $US8.11

Impressions 45,404

Clicks: 7,885

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US12.95

Impressions 9,015

Clicks: 443

Creation date: 11/1/16


Cost: $US8.11

Impressions 36,295

Clicks: 6,656

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US6.54

Impressions 56,130

Clicks: 11,629

Creation date: 11/2/16


Cost: $US6.05

Impressions 9,402

Clicks: 326

Creation date: 11/1/16


Cost: $US4.49

Impressions 5,587

Clicks: 496

Creation date: 11/1/16


Cost: $US6.49

Impressions 12,398

Clicks: 1,528

Creation date: 11/1/16


Cost: $US8.11

Impressions 191,238

Clicks: 11,360

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US4.27

Impressions 1,953

Clicks: 190

Creation date: 11/1/16


Others seemed more promotional.

Cost: $US1.62

Impressions 393

Clicks: 11

Creation date: 11/3/16


Cost: $US6.04

Impressions 1,926

Clicks: 97

Creation date: 11/2/16


Cost: $US1.05

Impressions 714

Clicks: 47

Creation date: 11/2/16

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