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Black Lives Matter protest

A Russian-bought Black Lives Matter Facebook ad targeted Baltimore and Ferguson

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A Russian government-affiliated troll farm bought at least one Facebook referencing the Black Lives Matter movement during the 2016 presidential election, according to CNN.

Sources with knowledge of the ad on Thursday told CNN that it was specifically targeted to reach audiences in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri.

CNN’s sources said it appears the spot was meant to appear supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The ad could also be construed as presenting the racial justice group as threatening to Baltimore and Ferguson’s residents, however.

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Baltimore and Ferguson have each suffered large, violent protests in recent years after fatal police shootings of black men in both cities.

CNN’s source said that the decision to direct the ad to each city shows how the Internet Research Agency used geographically targeted advertising to spread political chaos in the U.S.

U.S. military intelligence has described the Internet Research Agency as “a state-funded organization that blogs and tweets on behalf of the Kremlin.”

Some Twitter users on Thursday voiced alarm over CNN’s account of the ad, which reportedly appeared on Facebook at some point in late 2015 or early 2016.

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Facebook has previously said that about a quarter of the 3,000 ads bought by the Internet Research Agency were geographically targeted, but it has not revealed specific locations.

The social media giant has also declined to specify what demographic and special interest groups the ads were pointed towards.

The Black Lives Matter spot was one of a small handful that was presented to Congress earlier this month.

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Facebook has vowed to hand over detailed records of all 3,000 ads to Congress in the coming days.

The company has also provided copies of the ads and information about the relevant accounts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller is probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 race, including possible collusion between Russia and President Trump’s election campaign.

Trump has repeatedly denounced Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” against himself and his administration.

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