In the final weeks of the 2016 election campaign, voters in swing states
including Nevada and North Carolina saw ads appear in their Facebook
feeds and on Google websites touting a pair of controversial
faux-tourism videos, showing France and Germany overrun by Sharia law.
French schoolchildren were being trained to fight for the caliphate,
jihadi fighters were celebrated at the Arc de Triomphe, and the “Mona
Lisa” was covered in a burka.
Unlike Russian efforts to secretly influence the 2016 election via
social media, this American-led campaign was aided by direct
collaboration with employees of Facebook and Google. They helped target
the ads to more efficiently reach the intended audiences, according to
internal reports from the ad agency that ran the campaign, as well as
five people involved with the efforts.
During the 2016 campaign, in addition to its ads about Muslims and
refugees, the group made a parody site, “Hillary’s Inbox,” with fake
email chains between the candidate, her advisers and public figures.
Secure America Now ran ads for the site on the Fox News politics page
last October, according to internal reports, generating more than
206,000 visitors to the parody site.