Russian Facebook Ads: Anna Colibri, GGBA Board Member, Speaks Out on KPIX 5

Russian Facebook Ads: Anna Colibri, GGBA Board Member, Speaks Out on KPIX 5

On November 1, 2017, GGBA board member Anna Colibri appeared on KPIX 5, the San Francisco Bay Area CBS affiliate. Colibri’s company, Colibri Digital Marketing, was selected to share a digital marketer’s perspective on the Russian Facebook advertising scandal because a reporter found her company via organic search.

Organic search, also knows as search engine optimization (SEO) is the digital marketing tactic that allows brands to be found when they look for products and services on their desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. The vast majority of searchers never go past page one of the search results (SERPs). “Being found via organic search is not easy, especially in competitive industries like marketing. As a small business, we’ve had to bootstrap our own SEO. To be found by a major news organization and extend our reach from an online search to earned media is an honor and achievement for our company,” said Colibri.

This news story, and Russian involvement in Facebook and other online platforms, shows the power of digital marketing to get your company found. It also shows that digital marketing, like any tool, can be used ethically or to cause harm. “As a certified B Corp [triple bottom line business that focuses on not only profits, but benefiting people and the planet as well], Colibri Digital Marketing takes ethics seriously,” said Colibri.

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We are finally getting a look at some Russian linked ads and some fake news. They were posted on social media during last year’s election. Thousands of posts were released today as a part of the Russian meddling investigation. Susie Steimle shows us extracts from Google, Facebook and Twitter.

These are just some of the advertisements that populated on news feeds between 2015 and 2017. Some compared Hillary Clinton to Satan. Others encouraged Texans to secede. Lawmakers say they influenced the election, misinformed the public and caused division in the United States of America.

“I don’t think you get it. I think, the fact that you’re general counsels, you defend your company, that what we are talking is about the cataclysmic change. What we are talking about is the beginning of cyber warfare.” said Ms. Feinstein.

Lawmakers took tech executives to task and sent it in the house of committees again today. They are contemplating creating regulations if Facebook, Twitter, and Google can’t get a handle on the problem.

“You created these platforms and now they are being misused and you have to be the ones to do something about it or we will,”  said Ms. Feinstein.

Facebook said more than 3,000 advertisements came from a Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg called The Internet Research Agency. 29 Million people directly received Russian content including fake protests and petitions. With sharing and re-sharing it may have reached as many as 126 million people. “We are hiring more ad reviewers, doubling our security and engineering efforts, putting in place title and content restrictions.”

“But people did take it seriously, and it meant something to them, it resonated with them.” – Anna Colibri – Owner, Digital Marketing.

Anna Colibri owns a digital marketing firm that places ads with Google and Facebook. She said she wants to see more regulations put in place by Congress and by these tech companies.

“We can’t just scoop up money. We have to figure out whether taking this money is going to hurt our country. And it matters” – Anna Colibri – Owner, Digital Marketing

Susie Steimle / KPIX 5

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