Facebook: Russian Group Spent $100000 On Ads During 2016 Election

The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration

The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration

Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that it sold about $100,000 in political advertising - roughly 3,000 ads - to Russian troll farms from June 2015 to May 2017.

Facebook said it believed, but could not independently confirm, that the accounts, which have been shut down, could have been set up by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian-based group promoting pro-Kremlin content on social media, the BBC reported.

The post was written by its chief security officer and said that it was cooperating with federal inquiries into influence operations during the presidential election.

In April Facebook published a white paper detailing the spread of fake news on the platform and the ways the company was attempting to reduce it.

Most of the ads didn't specifically mention the election or express support for a particular candidate.

The news comes the same day as Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg waded even more into the political waters by hosting a Facebook Live session in which he interviewed three Dreamers, in an effort to condemn President Trump's decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said yesterday that it uncovered a massive plot by foreign agents to wreak havoc by spreading misinformation leading up to last year's hotly-contested US presidential election.

Those ads were targeted, according to an unnamed Facebook official, at users who'd "expressed interest" in politically charged topics such as African-American social issues, the Second Amendment, immigration, and the LGBT community.

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Amid rising concern, Facebook - which is used daily by hundreds of millions if not billions of people - pledged to look into "information operations", or state-funded efforts designed at influencing sentiment.

The social media network's analysis indicates that the 470 fake Facebook accounts were linked to each other "and likely operated out of Russian Federation".

Facebook said numerous ads in question didn't specifically mention the presidential election, and instead "appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum" ranging from "LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights".

Facebook also found another $50,000 in additional political ads that might have had ties to Russian Federation, but those ads didn't necessarily violate Facebook's policies like the fake accounts did. According to the Post, Facebook has told USA congressional investigators that it sold the ads to a "Russian troll farm" that has a history of "pro-Kremlin" propaganda. The ads were purchased by a collective of some 470 accounts and pages that used falsified identification information.

The blog post from the social media explains their impact in the 2016 USA presidential election. There were over 3,000 adverts working on this to influence people of the United States during the elections.

Facebook conducted a broad review of ads on its platform, looking for ad buys that might have even a loose connection to Russian Federation.

"We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform", Stamos wrote.

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