Facebook: $100k in ads came from Russian Federation during United States campaign

"Facebook notes that the "vast majority" of the ads it analyzed didn't reference a candidate, voting or the 2016 election specifically; instead, they were meant to "[amplify] divisive social and political messages".

According to a report in the Washington Post citing several unnamed sources, the social media giant told congressional investigators that the ads promoted 470 fake accounts that promulgated polarizing opinions on such issues as political candidates, immigration, gun rights and LGBT rights.

Facebook says a review has concluded hundreds of bogus profiles and group pages likely linked to Russian Federation bought $100,000 worth of politically themed and divisive ads aimed at USA voters in 2016.

Schiff said Facebook concluded most of the ads were not geographically targeted, but those that were would be of interest to the committee's investigation into the 2016 election. Facebook's chief security officer Alex Stamos said the company's analysis suggests that these accounts and pages were affiliated with one another and were likely to have operated out of Russian Federation.

Facebook said, despite if there were no violation of laws, 470 pages and accounts that were associated with the advertisements ran totally foul to the requirements of the social media for authenticity and thus were suspended after that.


The revelation, first reported by the Washington Post, comes amid ongoing investigations into Russia's interference in the US election, including the use of social media to spread fake news and propaganda.

"We have shared our findings with USA authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary", the Facebook post said.

The fake accounts were discovered during a company review of ad buys that was spurred by a broader investigation the company initiated into Russian meddling after the election, Stamos said.

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

Facebook has also reported that few ads also mentioned the then Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.


Facebook has been struggling with the issue of fake accounts, including organizations seeking to promote posts and generate traffic using bots. In this expanded review, Facebook found another $50,000 in political ad spending for about 2,200 ads.

On Wednesday, the provider had a word with both the House of Representatives intelligence committees and the senate. The ad buys may have been a violation of United States election law by Facebook and others involved.

The drumbeat of news about Russia's role in the election has only helped push relations with the USA to post-Cold War lows. Warner said that he wants the committee to hear more from Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies about Russian efforts.

Facebook has turned over the data to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is now running the investigation on the hacking.



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