The House Intelligence Committee released a selection of Russian social media accounts and promoted posts from the 2016 election yesterday.
While the scope of the accounts was broad, ranging from a “Texan” Facebook group that promoted anti-immigration rhetoric to an LGBT-targeted group that offered Bernie Sanders coloring pages, at least one of the accounts specifically sought out veterans.
According to the metadata on this promoted Instagram post from @american.veterans from August 2016, the ad was targeted at Americans between the ages of 18 and 65+ whose interests matched the terms, “Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, Veterans For America, Support Our troops, US Military Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Support Our Veterans, Concerned Veterans for America or Supporting Our Veterans.”
The full caption read, “Killary Clinton will never understand what it feels like to lose the person you love for the sake of your country. Honoring the high cost paid by so many families to protect our freedom. Buy a T-shirt – help a veteran: Veterans USA FunnyInst”. The text in the picture also appeared to promote a different Instagram account, veterans_us.
After 37 separate payments to Instagram, totaling 3083.95 rubles (about $53), the ad was seen over 17,000 times and received 517 clicks.