News outlets have reported that Russian operatives, in an apparent attempt to sway voters toward Donald Trump, bought social media ads targeted toward certain groups of people. This week, Facebook revealed to our parent company, Fusion Media, that Russia-related content ran on two of our sites: Splinter (formerly Fusion) and here at The Root.
Even though Russia is known for having some of the best hackers and bots in the world (I still don’t know what a “bot” is. Is it a robot with an amputated leg? Is it a boy thot?), apparently the Soviet propaganda could only generate side eye from our readers. Even though The Root has 1.2 million followers on Facebook, only a small percentage of the Russian ads made impressions.
Facebook defines “impressions” as “the moment an ad enters the screen of a desktop browser or mobile app. If an ad doesn’t enter the screen, we don’t count it as an ad impression.” I haven’t verified the numbers, but I assume only a few thousand of our readers took the Kremlin-backed bait. Hold on, let me check.
OK, I just messaged our social media editor Aarick Knighton. He said only three thousand ... wait. No, just three people? That can’t be right. Let me double-check that figure.
Yep, just three people saw the Russian ads. Three. That’s it.
We all know how hard it is for advertisers to reach black audiences, especially when there are white people making the decisions (see SheaMoisture, Pepsi, Dove, et al.). We thought we’d help Facebook, Russia and other advertisers who wanted to reach The Root’s audience by sharing a few ideas that we know would attract attention.
1. Beyoncé or Rihanna
If Facebook ran an ad saying Beyoncé was voting for Trump, I’m sure the Beyhive vote would have been worth five or six electoral votes, minimum. Even better, if they had said that every person who pulled the lever for the cantaloupe-colored colluder got a Fenty gift bag, it would have been a landslide.
Contrary to popular belief, not all The Root’s readers are black. Sometimes Caucasians click on our stories to shed their daily dose of white tears (I’m pretty sure it is a weight-loss technique). And nothing gets the white tears flowing like the word “wypipo.” It doesn’t matter if you’re selling lotion or Confederate flags. If a headline contains the word, they will click on it.
Then they’ll write the company a letter about how racist their lotion is.
3. Barack and Michelle Obama
Let’s try a quick experiment: Find a random black woman’s Facebook page and scroll through her pictures. I guarantee one of them is a photo of Barack, Michelle or both Obamas. In fact, a 2016 Pew Research poll that was never conducted shows that 83.5 percent of black women’s cellphones have a photograph of the Obamas, only slightly lower than the 94.2 percent who have an unsolicited picture of a penis in their “deleted photos” folders.
4. Black Lives Matter
Like the word “wypipo,” Caucasians are compelled to click on anything that says #BlackLivesMatter just so they can comment, “Shouldn’t all lives matter?”
5. Black Men in Gray Sweatpants
Apparently this is a thing women are into. I haven’t done the research, but I’ve heard it’s a big thing now.
I’m not sure, but I think it’s all about things.
6. The Russian Pee Tape
Sell it online. I know I’d probably throw up the sweet-and-sour chicken I ate yesterday if I laid eyes on Trump’s bloated, pale, quince-shaped naked body dripping wet with Moscovian-prostitute urine, so I wouldn’t watch it.
I just want to see the memes on Black Twitter.
7. A Police Officer Convicted of Killing an Unarmed Black Person
Or a unicorn. Or a high-resolution photo of Bigfoot. Or Donald Trump telling the truth. Or Kellyanne Conway combing her hair.
I mean ... if you want to spread fake news, make it something good.
8. Natural Hair Products
Black women would click on anything that moisturizes their 3c-grade hair and holds their curl pattern when it rains. I don’t know what any of that means, but they do. Black hair products are proof that the U.S. excludes black women from STEM research because every woman is a Ph.D.-level chemist when it comes to her hair.
9. Conspiracy Theories
This is one of the few categories both black and white people can agree on. Anything on the internet is automatically verified as true and will be shared instantly.
I’m sure you saw the Facbook video with the chain-smoking woman talking about the “electric magnet pulse” this weekend. Are you familiar with the pizza-basement sex ring or how Jay-Z and Beyoncé traded Blue Ivy’s secret twin to the Illuminati? No?
First, you need to read the Willie Lynch letter.
You gotta stay woke.