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


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

In the analysis Facebook turned over, the company said that fake accounts linked to a pro-Kremlin group in Russian Federation had purchased $100,000 in political ads during the 2016 election.

He said these are serious claims and that the company had been reviewing a range of activity on the platform to help understand what happened.

Facebook on Wednesday confirmed that Russian operations may have targeted the United States presidential election with ads purchased on its social network.

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"Whoever may have provided assistance to Russian Federation in buying these Facebook ads is very likely in violation of the law", he said.

That said, Facebook has reiterated the fact that they don't allow inauthentic accounts on Facebook and have since shut down accounts that they identified as such and were still active. Facebook's announcement does appear to fit with the overall conclusion of the US intelligence community that Russian Federation attempted to interfere in the 2016 election, leading some to feel vindicated.

Gizmodo contacted Facebook for more information about the ad buys but had not heard back at time of writing.

Facebook said the total sum of Russian-based ads geared at influencing the election was approximately $100,000, a small amount in the scope of ad sales in the USA presidential election. Such accounts paid around 2,200 ads Facebook has deemed "politically related".

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Facebook has been struggling to control fake news and advertising over the past few years, and has also received scrutiny for advertising audience numbers that seem to conflict with U.S. Census Bureau data. Facebook searched for ads that even had "weak signals" of a connection to the country, including accounts linked to U.S. IP addresses but that had Russian set as the language.

Stamos said that the vast majority of the ads did not mention the presidential election or a specific candidate. Ars Technica loaded a Facebook ad-purchase order to buy $100,000 of advertising that targeted anyone interested in "the Second Amendment" or "illegal immigration", and it quoted a "potential reach" of 1.4 million Facebook users.

Facebook also gave its findings to Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of investigating the alleged interference.

In case this isn't obvious, we're talking about a crime: a foreign government using foreign money to influence the outcome of an American election.

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The discovery, revealed to investigators for the congressional intelligence committees, marked the first confirmation that Facebook was at least an oblique tool of Russia's election meddling campaign aimed at planting Donald Trump in the White House.