Facebook admits, Russian Federation -funded campaign messages on its network

Posted September 08, 2017

Most of the ads run by the accounts didn't directly reference the USA presidential election, voting, or particular candidates but instead appeared focused on "amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum", according to Stamos.

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.

Most of the ads did not name either President Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, writes Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, in a blog.

Around 3000 advertisements were generated within the aforementioned time frame promoting "divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum" rather than having a direct reference to the United States Presidential Elections in 2016.

In another possible sign of attempted foreign interference in the US presidential election, Facebook Inc. revealed on Wednesday that it's likely a Russian operation spent $100,000 on ads to promote certain views to targeted USA citizens. These are serious claims and we've been reviewing a range of activity on our platform to help understand what happened. Those users were then targeted with election-oriented ads in 2016, he said.

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Facebook's chief security officer Alex Stamos said almost 500 accounts had spent roughly $150,000 on about 3,000 ads, but that the accounts had since been suspended.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the election in previous year that saw Donald Trump become President of the United States.

AN employee of Facebook also said that there were unidentified connections between the Russian "troll factory" and the divisive ads in St. Petersburg, which publishes comments on the social media.

Those figures are just for the ads Facebook has confidently attributed to Russian groups.

It looks like Russian Federation has purchased a lot of Facebook ads during the U.S President election.

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Another $50,000 (around Rs 32 lakh) was spent on 2,200 "potentially politically related" ads, likely by Russians, Facebook said.

Facebook made its statement on Wednesday, blaming an operation likely based in Russian Federation for deliberately spearheading divisive political and social messages.

Mark Warner, who is leading the Senate's investigation into Russia's election attack, said Thursday he has long believed that Moscow used overt social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to intervene in the 2016 election, as well as other covert tools such as cyber-attacks. The ad buys may have been a violation of USA election law by Facebook and others involved.

Any ad purchases as described by this WP report would violate FEC rules prohibiting foreign nationals and governments from either spending money or making contributions that influence USA elections on the federal, state, or local level.

Facebook has turned over the data to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is now running the investigation on the hacking.

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