Facebook uncovers Russian Federation operation spent $100k on misinformation adverts

Russian page advertises political posts worth $100,000 on Facebook

It said it had discovered that the $100,000 had been used to buy roughly 3,000 ads connected to 470 accounts all "likely" associated with each other and operated out of Russian Federation.

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.

It's not so much a question of whether the Kremlin interfered in the election: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence in January stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin "ordered an influence campaign" to discredit Clinton and "undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process". These are serious claims and we've been reviewing a range of activity on our platform to help understand what happened.

Between June 2015 and May of this year, roughly 3,000 ads connected with 470 "inauthentic accounts" ran on Facebook, according to the company. Facebook said that these accounts and pages all seem to be connected to each other and likely were led by an operation out of Russian Federation.

Mr Stamos said the 470 fake accounts and pages did not specifically refer to the election, a candidate or voting.

The panel is one of three groups investigating Russia's alleged interference in the US presidential election, including possible collusion between the country and members of Trump's election campaign.




Facebook has shared its findings with the United States authorities investigating these issues.

There have always been questions about Facebook ad effectiveness and issues of how businesses could get themselves in trouble over using ads badly.

Facebook said the total sum of Russian-based ads geared at influencing the election was approximately $100,000, a small amount in the scope of ad sales in the USA presidential election. The representative said the Russian company paid $100,000 to use the ads to target voters during the presidential election last fall.

Facebook conducted a broad review of ads on its platform, looking for ad buys that might have even a loose connection to Russian Federation. Warner said that he wants the committee to hear more from Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies about Russian efforts. This additional pool of ads totaled $50,000 spent on roughly 2,200 ads.

The disclosure, first reported by the Washington Post, is sure to fuel calls for a deeper review by Facebook into whether Russian Federation also may have used other front companies or nonprofit groups to hide the purchase of additional sponsored ads carrying harshly critical or fake news about Hillary Clinton.

"I'm certain that the special counsel would be interested in this information, and I would presume that if Robert Mueller's team has not received this information from Facebook, they'll be asking for it soon", Fischer said.

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