Of the many angles presented in last week's news about Russian sources buying ads on Facebook, one of them was about manipulating public opinion. Last year, it was reported that fake news stories against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton were being distributed on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The intelligence community learned early this year that Russian sources had bought ads to help promote those fake news articles. Facebook denied it.

Last Wednesday, Facebook executives reportedly showed samples of the ads to congressional investigators but did not release them. They were, however, released to special prosecutor Robert Mueller's team.

Mueller is currently conducting a broad investigation over various criminal probes into the Trump administration, one of them being social media ads. It was reported earlier this week that Mueller's investigation on Facebook Ads was heating up, and, on Friday, another source reportedly told Bloomberg that Facebook executives have given more information to Mueller than they had to congressional investigators.

Directing Facebook ads with Russian help

It was also learned that those ads targeted voters in vulnerable districts where those ads would be more effective and better able to influence opinion against Clinton. That's why investigators expressed interest in speaking with the former digital director of the Trump campaign, Brad Parscale. It's been reported that Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, hired Parscale to handle the campaign's digital momentum when it started back in 2015.

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The Giles-Parscale company had already done work for the Trump Organization in the past.

Both Kushner and Parscale -- like most Trump officials who were later found to have lied about meeting with Russian officials -- have denied they colluded with Russian operatives. Prior to Kushner's testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in July, McClatchy News titled: "Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation" had already reported on the links that congressional committees were looking into between the Trump campaign and Russian entities via social media. It had already been reported by the U.S. intelligence community at this point that Russian Intelligence was involved in buying Facebook ads.

Targeting districts, flipping public opinion

The McClatchy report said that investigators were already looking at the Kremlin for using social media to deliver "critical and phony news" against Clinton by using fake accounts to manipulate public opinion. Examples of that fake news are with stories like what many have come to know as "pizzagate".

The report referred to a source who said that the Justice Department didn't believe that the Russian operatives who were controlling the cyber commands that grabbed and distributed the fake news pieces, knew how to target districts and states without help.

The report recalled the targeted states as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania where Hillary Clinton lost from 5,350 up to 22,140 votes on average. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who is a ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that people in those states would specifically see stories on their Facebook newsfeeds about Hillary Clinton stealing money when she was secretary of state or news stories about her health problems, which was a consistent assertion during the campaign.

Warner said that African-Americans and women were targeted in those states as they were places where "Democrats were too brain-dead" to pay attention. Although there is no proof that the attack influenced the vote count directly, the manipulation created by those stories would. Warner added that, back in July, Facebook and Twitter search engines were overwhelmed as people could not tell the difference between real and fake news.