Report: Russian-bought Facebook ad showed a black woman 'dry firing' a rifle

Report: Russian-bought Facebook ad showed a black woman 'dry firing' a rifle
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One of the 2016 election ads that Facebook sold to Russia-linked accounts showed the image of a black woman brandishing a rifle, an apparent attempt to stoke racial tensions in the U.S., according to The Washington Post.

The ad is among those that Facebook is handing over to Congress as part of the Russia investigation.

The Post reported that the ad showed the woman “dry firing” a rifle — meaning that she was pulling the trigger while the gun was unloaded.

None of the ads in the trove that Facebook is handing to Congress have been made public, though leaks have suggested that the ads were aimed at playing up divisive issues.

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The social media company said as much when it revealed last month that Kremlin-linked actors had purchased $100,000 worth of political ads on the platform using fake accounts.

“The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the US presidential election, voting or a particular candidate,” Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, wrote in a Sept. 6 blog post.

“Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”

Since that revelation, Facebook has promised to reform its advertising policies. For one, it will start requiring disclaimers on political ads that note who’s paying for them. And on Monday, Facebook announced it will be hiring 1,000 people to review ads that are run on the site.

“The big picture is that we’re stepping up tomorrow to help Congress understand foreign interference on the ad platform and to make improvements to the ad platform to enhance transparency,” Joel Kaplan, the company’s vice president for U.S. public policy, told the Post. “We’re committed to doing our part to prevent this type of malicious interference.”