Local

Facebook: Accounts From Russia Bought Ads During US Presidential Election Campaign

Hundreds of fake Facebook accounts, probably run from Russia, spent about $100,000 on ads aimed at stirring up divisive issues such as gun control and race relations during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the social network said Wednesday.

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 U.S. politics during the campaign, this time through social media.

The 470 accounts appeared to come from a notorious “troll farm,” a St. Petersburg-based organization known for promoting pro-Russian government positions via fake accounts, according to two people familiar with the investigation. The people were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss details of the investigation.

In all, the accounts purchased some 3,000 ads between June 2015 and May 2017. While they ads didn’t specifically reference the election, a candidate or voting, they nevertheless allowed “divisive messages” to be amplified via the social media platform, the company’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said in a statement.

Facebook has turned over its findings to federal authorities investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, is charged with overseeing Russian meddling in the U.S. election and any potential coordination with associates of President Donald Trump.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said Facebook’s disclosure confirmed what many lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election had long suspected.

“One of the things that we’re interested obviously in finding out is whether there was any coordination in terms of the use of those paid social media trolls or the Russian use of bots,” he 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.

In addition to the 470 accounts that appeared to be run from Russia, Stamos said its investigators also discovered an additional $50,000 in spending via 2,200 ads that “might have originated in Russia,” even including ads purchased by accounts with IP addresses in the U.S. but set to Russian in the language settings.

The company has come under intense pressure since the election to curb the flow of false information. After the election, it updated its advertising policy to say it wouldn’t run spots that are “illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news.”

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Local

More in Local

76eac957e18c602f7182b12b7e9bf89a.jpg

SHOCK: Armed School Officer Never Went Inside To Confront Gunman

adminFebruary 23, 2018
d6c296b35807625b611c817e01575fa6.jpg

President Donald Trump Delivers Remarks At CPAC Conference

adminFebruary 23, 2018
ab43a89830efee81b12d3bbc679f6891.jpg

PA President Abbas Hospitalized In Baltimore

adminFebruary 23, 2018
c3519c643bcb1f28a531c85569fa27ec.jpg

NY: Man Pleads To Hate Crime For Nazi Symbols At Jewish Cemetery

adminFebruary 23, 2018
e7f5156e3db34a1428b2d1c1bdae7c4b.jpg

White House Says New Policy Won’t Affect Jared Kushner

adminFebruary 21, 2018
bb0a383bdcc48e9db7e2d70e926af76e.jpg

WATCH: ‘I Will Not Shut Up!’ Haley Blasts UN, Palestinians After Abbas Addresses Security Council

adminFebruary 21, 2018
5068797117ee198cb2712fd6d39d28a3.jpg

Florida School Shooting Unfolded Instantly On Social Media; Could Scar Children

adminFebruary 21, 2018
13d62b91f3a952f267816c139d3664c9.jpg

Leaked Wikileaks Messages Show Julian Assange Targeted Jewish Reporter In Anti-Semitic Attack

adminFebruary 21, 2018
0602b15eac29872cb2385bb45d5f9e1b.jpg

42-Year-Old Slashed By Stranger In Times Square

adminFebruary 20, 2018