Russian-bought Facebook ads 'seen by 10 million in US'

Russian-bought Facebook ads 'seen by 10 million in US'

Russian operatives used a Facebook tool to identify people who might be susceptible to propaganda adverts - then bombarded them with ads such as an image of Hillary Clinton behind bars. Of the remainder, if we assume equal exposure for each ad, only 44 percent were actually shown during the election - fewer than 1,000 ads. Some of the ads were paid for in Russian currency. He stated that accounts and ads that Facebook discovered seemed to heighten "divisive political issues across the political spectrum", such as gay rights issues, Black Lives Matter, and gun rights.

"What Facebook has found thus far have been ads that were funded by money that could be directly tracked back to Russian Federation", said Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, Monday. Those ads have been turned over to congressional investigators as well as Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who's leading an independent probe into the 2016 election.

Of the remaining 250 ads that were geographically targeted, Facebook said that "most" of them ran in 2015, before the primaries had even begun.

Like other companies that sell advertising space, Facebook publishes policies for what it allows, prohibiting ads that are violent, discriminate based on race or promote the sale of illegal drugs.

Facebook vice president of communications Elliot Schrage on Monday posted answers to "hard questions" prompted by the Russian Federation ads. Lastly, $3 was spent on 50% of the ads; and for 99% of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent.

"After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a insane idea", said Mr Zuckerberg last week.

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"The 2016 USA election was the first where evidence has been widely reported that foreign actors sought to exploit the internet to influence voter behaviour", said Schrage. Facebook said that many did not violate its content policies. None of the companies has said if it will attend the hearing.

Timing: Facebook unveiled the information publicly shortly after it handed over the ads to Congress, likely getting ahead of any leaks. Several lawmakers - including Virginia Sen.

Facebook's moves look like they could catch dodgy ad campaigns, particularly those attempting election influence campaigns.

Twitter said last week that it had suspended 22 accounts corresponding to the 450 Facebook accounts that were likely operated out of Russian Federation.

Warner criticized Twitter for not sharing more information with Congress, saying the company's findings were merely "derivative" of Facebook's work.

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