Here's how Russian Facebook ads targeted US voters in 2016

A new research paper details the scale of targeted ads by "suspicious" groups ahead of the 2016 US election.

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A new paper documents the scale and how "suspicious" groups targeted ads at US voters leading up to the 2016 election.

Luis Acosta / AFP/Getty Images

Before Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of congress and before the public revelation of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, there was the news that Russians bought Facebook ads aimed at US voters leading up to the 2016 election. A new research paper published April 11, 2018, details the scale and who was targeted by these Russian ads.

As reported by Wired, Young Mie Kim, when she was a professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducted a six-week study leading up to the Nov. 8 election in 2016. She reversed engineered a way to document the groups that placed digital ads about sensitive issues like abortion, immigration, guns, race and candidate scandals.

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Her research shows these ads were placed by 122 "suspicious" groups and that the majority of them focused on voters in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Groups behind these ads ran four times the number of ads as groups forced to report to the Federal Election Commission.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that the platform would verify all political advertisers, and those who manage large pages.

In his testimony to congress last week, Zuckerberg said, "Going forward, we're going to address this by verifying the identity of every single advertiser who's running political or issue-oriented ads to make it so that foreign actors or people trying to spoof their identity or say that they're someone that they're not cannot run political ads or run large pages."

Read Kim's entire research paper below.