- A Russia-affiliated “Army of Jesus” Facebook page encouraged its 217,000 followers to share an illustration depicting Hillary Clinton wearing devil horns ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
- The illustration was just one of several examples of Russian propaganda on Facebook that was shared during multiple congressional hearings with tech executives this week.
Just before the 2016 US presidential election, a Russian-backed group with 217,000 Facebook followers posted an illustration that depicted Hillary Clinton as a devil fighting Jesus.
The caption: “”Like’ if you want Jesus to win!”
The illustration, which the group shared through its organizational page on the social networking site, was among the Russian-linked propaganda efforts displayed Wednesday during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Focused on Russia’s alleged use of Facebook, Google, and Twitter to meddle with US politics, the hearing was a forum for senators to ask executives at those companies questions about the propaganda operation and voice their concerns.
Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s vice chairman, showed the illustration, shared by the Russia-affiliated “Army of Jesus,” as evidence of how Russian actors used social networking posts and online ads to sow divisiveness and spread propaganda.
The illustration was just one of several examples of Russia-backed Facebook propaganda efforts revealed for the first time during the hearings, which were held on Tuesday and Wednesday. Other examples included the efforts by Russia-linked groups to organise anti-Islam and anti-Trump protests.
During a Tuesday hearing with the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel, said most of the Russian ads on the company’s platform were used to direct the social network’s users to related pages on the site, where they could view unpaid posts from the groups.
Neither Facebook, Google, nor Twitter executives were able to tell congressional investigators on Tuesday how much money they made from ads that appeared alongside Russian propaganda.
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