Russia-linked Facebook accounts stoked United States divisions

Russia-linked Facebook accounts stoked United States divisions

In a statement Wednesday, Facebook said it discovered about $100,000 of its ad spending came from "inauthentic accounts" that were likely operated out of Russian Federation from June 2015 to May 2017.

Facebook's disclosure may be the first time a private entity has pointed to receiving Russian money related to USA elections, said Brendan Fischer, a program director at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington nonprofit that advocates for more transparency.

Russian-linked pages bought thousands of ads on Facebook around the 2016 election, according to the social network.

A total of 470 fake accounts and pages ran roughly 3,000 ads during that period, Facebook's Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos wrote in a blog post.

"Our analysis suggests these accounts and pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation", he added, before saying that the accounts had been shut down.

The Washington Post first reported on Wednesday that Facebook had informed congressional investigators that the ad sales were linked to a Russian "troll" farm known for spreading propaganda.

Most of the political ads that Facebook discovered didn't reference the USA presidential election, voting or a specific candidate. "Our data policy and federal law limit our ability to share user data and content, so we won't be releasing any ads".

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She declined to comment on the Facebook ads, saying she could not comment on subjects that could come before the agency. It also hunted for other suspect ads and found $50,000 spent on 2,200 ads it says could have been politically related.

Facebook said it was trying.

The company said it found no link to any presidential campaign.

But the findings buttress USA intelligence agency conclusions that Russian Federation was actively involved in shaping the election.

As the WP points out, this revelation follows a Time report from May claiming that U.S. intelligence officials had found proof of politically targeted, Kremlin-affiliated Facebook ad buys during the 2016 Presidential election.

Those banned from such spending include foreign citizens, foreign governments, foreign political parties, foreign corporations, foreign associations and foreign partnerships, according to the FEC.

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