Published: Thu, September 07, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

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

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

Facebook said it sold ads to "inauthentic" accounts likely linked to Russian Federation.

In a post written by chief security officer, Alex Stamos, the company said that the findings came after a review in the wake of questions over targeted political advertising on social media during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

The Washington Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said the social network determined that the $100,000 in ads were sold to a Russian "troll farm" that has a history of promoting pro-Kremlin propaganda.

Some of the 3,300 ads, which first appeared in the summer of 2015, named eventual nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton by name, the paper said.

Stamos said Facebook has already shared its findings with USA authorities, which have been investigating a wide range of active measures by Russian Federation to spread propaganda and disinformation, something counterintelligence experts describe as a form of "hybrid warfare".

Stamos said a "majority" of the ads didn't specifically reference the presidential election or a particular candidate but did try to amplify divisive issues.

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The tech firm also broadly searched for ads that might have ties to Russian Federation. In a statement posted days after the election, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg promised to explore the issue but said that 99 percent of information found on Facebook is authentic and only "a very small amount" is fake or hoaxes. "If Facebook has data on this, it needs to share it".

Stamos said the review also looked at ads that may have originated in Russian Federation though with weaker links, this came up with around $50,000 (£38,000) from 2,200 ads.

The Internet Research Agency has received attention in the past for its activity.

Those banned from such spending include foreign citizens, foreign governments, foreign political parties, foreign corporations, foreign associations and foreign partnerships, according to the FEC.

The prevailing informal community said that a considerable lot of the advertisements advanced 470 "inauthentic" records and pages that it has now suspended and the promotions spread polarizing sees on points including migration, race and gay rights, rather than sponsorship a specific political competitor.

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