Russian 'misinformation' campaign discovered on Facebook

Numerous ads, Facebook said, did not specifically mention presidential candidates or the election, but rather divisive social issues like immigration, LGBT-rights, and race issues.

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

Even as investigations are underway on whether or not the Russians meddled in USA elections 2016, Facebook has revealed it has discovered that a group based out of Russia spent more than United States dollars 100,000 on sending propaganda posts over a two-year period. Facebook's investigation confirmed, via "digital footprints", that 3,300 ads from 470 "suspicious and likely fraudulent Facebook accounts and pages" were all linked to the same Russian company.

Facebook is exploring "several new improvements", Stamos said, highlighting better detection tools and more efficient early intervention against inauthentic accounts.

Russia's meddling in the presidential election became a central focus of U.S. intelligence agencies in the second half of 2016.

Warner said he wants the committee to meet with representatives of Facebook, Twitter, Google and other online giants to see what can be done to prevent social media sites from being used as tools by foreign adversaries to meddle in future USA elections. The findings are also likely to make investigators question whether the Russians were getting input on ad buys from people in the US.

On Wednesday, the provider had a word with both the House of Representatives intelligence committees and the senate.

The advertisements directed users toward around 470 accounts that spread false information or were otherwise in breach of Facebook's terms and conditions, said the site. In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads.

If the Facebook ad spending was done "completely independently of any campaign" and didn't express any advocacy or didn't pursue TV or radio ads, which have restrictions, "then it may not be illegal", he said.

Facebook, the popular social media network used daily by more than 1.3 billion people worldwide, has come under intense public pressure to take steps to ensure that it does not become an easy vehicle for spreading falsehoods about political candidates.

Facebook has been accused of allowing the proliferation of fake news and geo-targeted disinformation during the US presidential campaign.

In the review presented to Congressional investigators, Facebook said it had found an additional $50,000 in political ad spending during the election from other accounts connected to Russian Federation. The company's findings are more evidence to back the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian Federation influenced the election. There have been claims that there was indeed a collusion between Moscow and the heated up campaign of President Donald Trump.

"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.

  • Joey Payne