Facebook gave special counsel Robert Mueller data on Russian ads, report says

08 September, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Rep. Adam Schiff D-Calif. ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee speaks after a closed meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. Hundreds of fake Facebook accounts probably run from Russia spent about

"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".

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that the disclosure by Facebook confirmed one of the ways Russian Federation sought to interfere in USA politics and serves as a "profound warning to us and others about future elections".

Facebook reviewed ad buys and have revealed that from June of 2015 to May of 2017 there was approximately $100,000 in ad spending associated with about 3,000 ads. Moreover, it was also found that 470 fake users and pages were connected to ads and operated in affiliation with one another.

Stamos says as a result of this investigation Facebook is now "exploring several new improvements to our systems for keeping inauthentic accounts and activity off our platform". These are the officials who are investigating Russian interference in the US presidential election.

Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totaling $100,000, to a Russian "troll farm" with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, these people said.

The internal investigation into politically motivated ads began this spring after discussions with US officials, the Facebook official said.

The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically refer to the U.S. presidential election, voting or a particular candidate.


Mark Warner, the top Democrat on a Senate committee looking into the interference, said he wants to talk with Facebook about how Russian agents may have used the platform to spread false stories.

According to Facebook, about $50,000 of the funds - about 2,200 ads- were potentially related to impacting USA politics.

Additionally, Facebook did a broad review of political ads bought during the election cycle by accounts with very faint connections to Russia, including, for example, accounts that were set up using an IP address in the U.S. but with the language set to Russian. It seems absurd to think a few nonspecific ads here and there on Facebook were enough to throw the election to a candidate who was polling as far behind their opponent as Trump was with Clinton.

The latest bit of evidence comes from Facebook, which has gone on something of a Damascan-style journey in its relationship to the USA election.

Internal investigations at Facebook also unearthed 470 fraudulent accounts and pages, with links to Russian Federation.

Although the number of ads is relatively small, the disclosure provides a more detailed peek into what investigators believe was a targeted effort by Russians to influence USA politics during the campaign, this time through social media.

The drumbeat of news about Russia's role in the election has only helped push relations with the USA to post-Cold War lows.

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