A CNN story released yesterday as “exclusive” revealed that specific public ads on Facebook from a few years ago geographically targeted the US cities where the largest Black Lives Matter protests happened. This ad was one of many that were owned by the infamous Russian troll farm.
The idea was that it was to create general chaos during the 2016 presidential election.
The ads have been revoked and Facebook will not release them due to “privacy concerns”. This couldn’t be more ironic considering it is known how little privacy anyone has on Facebook and how they’ve come under fire for meddling.
“Facebook did not comment for this story but did point to a statement from Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, who said earlier this month that “the vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the U.S. presidential election, voting or a particular candidate.”
“Rather,” Stamos said, “the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.” (Byers)
The framing being taking an existing story and making it news once it is reframed. In this case, more specific and not only questioning the Russian “internet research agency” but Facebook’s involvement in subversive voter suppression as well. I found this to be an interesting spin, almost meta—pitting two interlocutors beside each other while also framing within framing. CNN is classically left, so as in the Scheufele reading the reader is from the jump having their opinion influenced by specific agenda setting. But, is this story, albeit more specifically targeted than previous ones really anything new?
Framing often comes down to semantics to re-brand a tired traditional value. I find the use of the word “Exclusive” in the headline to exemplify this.
Byers, Dylan. “Exclusive: Russian-bought Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and Ferguson” CNN, 27 September 2017. http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/27/media/facebook-black-lives-matter-targeting/index.html
Scheufele, Dietram A. (2000). Agenda-setting, priming, and framing revisited. Another look at cognitive effects of political communication. Mass Communication and Society 3 (2&3), 297-316. Print.
Chong, Dennis, and James N. Druckman. “Framing Theory.” Annual Review of Political Science 10.1 (2007): 103–126. Print.