Skip to Content
Tech policy

Democrats have released thousands of Russian-linked Facebook ads

The stash shows how the ads’ messaging evolved as the election neared.

The news: Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee published more than 3,500 Facebook advertisements (one pictured above) that were purchased by the Russian Internet Research Agency. The documents released included information on how many people saw and clicked the ads, who they were targeted at, and what the ads looked like.

How the ads were used: The targeting in 2015 was more general, but by 2017 the ads were focused on specific cities, job titles, and employers. Many touched on social and racial issues, rather than directly mentioning the election. One even pitted Beyoncé fans and haters against each other.

Why it matters: The ads paint the clearest picture to date of how Russian groups used Facebook. With midterm elections now looming, it’s a reminder of how hackers and external groups can cause chaos in the American democratic process.

Deep Dive

Tech policy

How conservative Facebook groups are changing what books children read in school

Parents are gathering online to review books and lobby schools to ban them, often on the basis of sexual content.

Why can’t tech fix its gender problem?

A new generation of tech activists, organizers, and whistleblowers, most of whom are female, non-white, gender-diverse, or queer, may finally bring change.

How the idea of a “transgender contagion” went viral—and caused untold harm

A single paper on the notion that gender dysphoria can spread among young people helped galvanize an anti-trans movement.

The world is moving closer to a new cold war fought with authoritarian tech

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, Iran, Turkey, and Myanmar promised tighter trade relationships with Russia and China.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.