Russian operatives set up an array of misleading Web sites and social media pages to identify American voters susceptible to propaganda, then used a powerful Facebook tool to repeatedly send them messages designed to influence their political behavior, say people familiar with the investigation into foreign meddling in the U.S. election.
The tactic resembles what American businesses and political campaigns have been doing in recent years to deliver messages to potentially interested people online. The Russians exploited this system by creating English-language sites and Facebook pages that closely mimicked those created by U.S. political activists.
The Web sites and Facebook pages displayed ads or other messages focused on such hot-button issues as illegal immigration, African American political activism and the rising prominence of Muslims in the United States. The Russian operatives then used a Facebook “retargeting” tool, called Custom Audiences, to send specific ads and messages to voters who had visited those sites....
People caught up in this web of tracking and disinformation would have had no indication that they had been singled out or that the ads came from Russians....There's much more in this report by Elizabeth Dwoskin, Craig Timberg and Adam Entous.
Zuckerberg's minions at Facebook created this marvelous machine that has swept up billions of people into Candyland and then devised tools for targeting those billions individually for various sales pitches, and Facebook says it had absolutely no idea it had been penetrated and compromised by Russian agents.
And, of course, your aunt in Birmingham, who loved to share pictures of Hillary behind bars, had no idea she was a lab rat chasing Russian cheese.