Russian trolls mentioned Emanuel AME shooting in Facebook ads, sought to divide U.S before 2016 election

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Russian trolls used Facebook ads mentioning the 2015 Emanuel AME shooting in downtown Charleston to try and divide the U.S. before the 2016 Presidential election.

The House Intelligence Committee released more than 3,500 Facebook ads Thursday which were purchased by the troll group called the Internet Research Agency.

At least three of the ads mentioned the Charleston church shooting. Documents show the group spent 1,295 rubies for an ad which was created on June 18, 2015 and ended the next day. The ad had 5,072 impressions and 274 clicks. It was targeted toward people in Baltimore, Maryland, Ferguson, Missouri and Cleveland, Ohio.

The ad read:

Sadness and shocking tragedy at historically black church in Charlestone

Later it continues

What if American racial change still occurs through generations? What of it
racism happens due to unequal opportunities? What if America is still a
deeply racist country? What if the church is not a safe place anymore?
#CharlestonShooting #chsnews

Another ad of similar nature ran June 23-24, 2015 in the same cities. It had 759 impressions, 48 ad clicks and the group spent 258 rubies to pay for it. A third ad ran during the same time that June and had 412 impressions, 23 clicks and the group paid 174 rubies to create it.

Rep Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee said in a statement Americans should see the ads.

"The only way we can begin to inoculate ourselves against a future attack is to see first-hand the types of messages, themes and imagery the Russians used to divide us," Schiff said.

Facebook said in a blog post that  it gave the ads to Congress "so they could better understand the extent of Russian interference in the last US Presidential election."

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