Facebook to let users see if they followed Russian 'troll farm' pages

24 November, 2017, 01:32 | Author: Grady King
  • Screenshot Gizmodo

FACEBOOK will show users which Russian troll accounts they were duped into liking during the United States election, the company said yesterday.

Facebook is building out a tool to show which Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts associated with Russian Internet Research Agency election troll farm you Liked or followed. "It's why we build tools and provide education that put people in control of their privacy, and why we continually engage with policymakers about the best ways to protect people, create jobs, build community and promote innovation".

In addition to creating the bogus accounts, which were designed to spread misinformation and influence U.S. voters, Facebook said the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency spent $100,000 on over 3000 ads displayed around the time of the election.

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Roughly 150 million of Facebook's users saw posts shared by pages belonging to the Russian propaganda organisation known as the Internet Research Agency, Facebook previously told United States investigators.

Facebook says the propaganda came from the Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization that according to lawmakers and researchers employs hundreds of people to push pro-Kremlin content under phony social media accounts.

Facebook, Google and Twitter are facing a backlash after saying Russians used their services to anonymously spread divisive messages among Americans in the run-up to the 2016 US elections. All told, the posts could have reached as many as 126 million people, though not all of those users will have liked or followed the pages.

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Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, called the move a "very positive step" in a statement. Facebook has since deactivated the accounts. Activity between January 2015 and August 2017 will be tracked in particular, as a part of quashing the reported Russian interference during the 2016 U.S. Election.

For example, Facebook is adding a "View Ads" button that will allow users to see all of the ads a page is running across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, whether they are the intended target of those ads or not.

It's "much more challenging" to reliably tell people if they were exposed on an individual basis, Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch told Congress earlier this month. That number goes up when you include content on Instagram.

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