Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Wisconsin and Michigan during the 2016 U.S. elections, four sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN. These two states played a crucial role in the victory of Donald Trump.
Some of the ads were targeted at specific demographic groups in areas of the state. Divisive messages were pitched in through those ads to stand out in the huddle of campaign ads, stated sources.
The sources have not revealed the duration in 2016 when those ads ran in two crucial states. They were aimed at swaying public opinion in highly contested regions.
Michigan witnessed the neck-to-neck contest in the U.S. elections. Donald Trump registered victory over Hillary Clinton by 10,700 votes. Moreover, Trump emerged victorious in Wisconsin by merely 22,700 votes. Both states played a pivotal role in gaining a presidential position, though Trump won by merely less than 1%.
Special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees are investigating the matter. They are also putting efforts to determine whether Russians received any assistance from Trump associates to identify locations for targeting ads.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee informed the panel was analyzing the geographical breakdown. The panel will assess the targeting of Russian ads based on demographics. Moreover, it will determine if the associates of Donald Trump offered any help to the Russians during the Trump Campaign.
President Trump and senior White House officials had always rejected the claims of collusion with the Russians.
The specific targeting of two states consolidates the evidence that the Russian group made many moves to interfere in the elections.