Facebook says it sold ads to Russian 'troll farm' during 2016 campaign

A new analysis by Facebook into whether Russian Federation tried to interfere with last fall's usa presidential election by purchasing ads on the social media network has found a connection between the country and fake accounts.

Beyond the issue ads, Facebook said it uncovered another $50,000 in political advertising that might have a link to Russian Federation.

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.

"The ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum", the company said in a blog post published on Wednesday.

Following its April post-mortem on its platform's role in the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook is out with some juicy new details.

The social network said it also uncovered $50,000 more in ads clearly of a political nature that might have links to Russian Federation.

Facebook said it was cooperating with inquiries by Congress into whether Russian Federation sought to influence the election.

"This is no longer supposition", said Andrew Bleeker, the president of Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic digital advertising firm that worked for Clinton in 2016.

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As recently as June, it told journalists that it had not found any evidence to date of Russian operatives buying election-related ads on its platform. It also was looking for ads bought from accounts with US internet protocol addresses but with the language setting dialed in to Russian.

Many of them ran in 2015 before the first primary elections in the race for the Republican and Democrat nominations.

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

In its unclassified report in January, the US intelligence community concluded that the Internet Research Agency's "likely financier" is a "close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence". "In many ways, massive coordinated propaganda campaigns are just another form of election interference".

Facebook said it was co-operating with a United States investigation into the matter.

Facebook came under scrutiny after the election for its role in facilitating the spread of fake news stories and after initially distancing itself from the matter announced plans to take a deeper look at what happened.

Facebook and other internet giants have been cracking down on "fake news" after being hit with criticism that rampant spread of bogus stories influenced the outcome of the USA presidential election.

  • Megan Austin