This is the week of hearings on Facebook ads, as well as Twitter and Google promotion of pro-Putin or sometimes pro-Trump or disruptive ideas. So far we know that Russia-linked ads on Facebook cost about $100,000, a laughably low number. Maybe there is much more hidden, but so far I don’t see it.
$100,000 is exactly the amount the Comintern gave in the 1920s to organize a campaign against John L. Lewis leading the mine union. No, I am not adjusting for inflation, so in real terms the sum in the 20s was much higher. The Comintern also gave at least $35,000 to start the Daily Worker, again that is a nominal figure from the 1920s. The American Communist Party received subsidies too. Many other communist subsidies, media and otherwise, remain hidden or at least uncertain.
Furthermore, those earlier expenditures helped convert a large number of Americans and American intellectuals to actual belief in communism, or at least fellow traveler sympathies. And consider this (NYT):
The C.P.U.S.A.’s vulnerability had a great deal to do with its dependence on Moscow. For much of its existence, the party could not have functioned without Moscow gold. One of its first leaders, the journalist John Reed, was given more than a million rubles’ worth of czarist jewels and diamonds to smuggle into America to support the fledgling American movement. In the 1920s, Armand Hammer, the future head of Occidental Petroleum, used money derived from Soviet concessions to underwrite The Daily Worker and fund communist operations in Europe. Without Soviet money, the C.P.U.S.A. would not have been able to hire the hundreds of full-time organizers and support an array of front groups and publications that enabled it to outspend and out-organize its left-wing rivals.
So I’m just not that “impressed” by the Facebook revelations to date. If you want to worry about Facebook, the much bigger problems are abroad (NYT).