Newly released Russian Facebook ads show focus on Texas

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For months now, we have known that Russian operatives tried to influence the 2016 election using thousands of political advertisements on Facebook and Twitter but a newly released sample of the advertisements show they directly targeted Texans.

Last year, two different Facebook pages with Russian origins organized opposing rallies on the same day outside an Islamic Center in Houston. One of the pages called Heart of Texas supported guns, barbecue and Texas secession and amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. The other page called United Muslims of America advertised a “Save Islamic Knowledge” rally scheduled for the same day as an anti-muslim rally promoted by the Heart of Texas group. The event sparked tension and conflict between the two Texas groups.

In the coming weeks, federal lawmakers hope to release the advertisements in full to allow for more investigation.

One year after awarding McKesson, a pharmaceutical company, almost $10 million to expand operations into Texas, the state has joined a multi-state investigation into the company. Texas and 40 other states have served investigative subpoenas and other requests to McKesson Corporation and other companies that manufacturer pain killers. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his counterparts are trying to determine whether the opioid manufacturers played a role in creating or prolonging a national epidemic of opioid use and abuse.

The Governor's office has not yet commented on the developments.