Russian-bought Facebook ads targeted Alton Sterling protesters
BATON ROUGE - Documents released by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee reveal that Russian agencies may have used controversial topics to sow division in Baton Rouge and across the country.
Among the 3,500 Russian-paid Facebook ads published by the committee Thursday was at least one post advertising a protest outside BRPD headquarters just days after the shooting of Alton Sterling in 2016. Sterling's death prompted protests throughout Baton Rouge at the time and led to the firing of a BRPD officer earlier this year.
"Alton Sterling, an innocent 37-year-old Black male, was outrageously executed," the ad reads.
The post linked to a Facebook event for the protest, which was followed by hundreds of people.
The Alton Sterling ad is just one of many advertisements created or promoted by a Russian internet agency in between early 2015 and mid-2017. The ads played both sides of many politically-divisive topics, including arguments for and against immigration, LGBT issues and gun rights.
Many more attempted to stoke racial divisions by mentioning police brutality or disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement. Some promoted President Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, who ran against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary in 2016.