The highly anticipated dump of social media ads Russian propagandists used to influence the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton was made public Wednesday [Nov 1], revealing at least one ad aimed at titillating gay voters with a buffed up version of her opponent in the Democratic primary.
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee dumped the ad featuring “Buff Bernie” — an image of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wearing a speedo and with generous muscles — as part of the larger dump of the social media ads through which Russia sought to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump.
“You can color your own Bernie hero!” the ad says. “There is a new coloring book called ‘Buff Bernie: A coloring book for Berniacs’ is full of very attractive doodles of Bernie Sanders in muscle poses.'”
The book isn’t fictitious. Copies of the book, written and illustrated by Nicole Daddona, are still available online for $15.
The ad quotes Daddona as saying she “wanted to stop taking this own thing too serious.” That’s an actual quote from the author from a Buzzfeed article on her coloring book.
“The coloring is something that suit for all people,” the ad continues. “I totally agree with her. I recently heard some hateful from the Hillary supporters about Bernie Sanders and his supporters, so I really love the idea of this color book. I think that Bernie would love it.”
The ad was distributed on the account of “LGBT United,” one of the many social media accounts through which Russia distributed propaganda and one geared toward influencing LGBT people and LGBT rights supporters. Other accounts, such as “Being Patriotic,” “Woke Blacks,” “Blacktivist,” “South United,” and “Army of Jesus,” were aimed at other groups of American voters.
According to metadata the House Intelligence Committee also made public, the ad of Sanders in the buff wasn’t terribly successful. It received a total of 848 impressions and 54 clicks.
Others ads were likely more successful. According to the Daily Beast, more than 70 millions people may have ads linked to Russian propaganda accounts during the 2016 election.
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