Russian Federation operation spent $100k on divisive Facebook adverts during USA election

Facebook says shadowy Russian group spent $100000 on 'divisive' adverts during US election

Facebook Inc. said it has identified about 500 "inauthentic" accounts responsible for $100,000 in advertising spending that it believes have ties to Russia, following a review of ad buying on the site in response to intelligence-community concerns about Russian activity during the 2016 election.

Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that it has discovered it sold ads during the US presidential election to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company's findings.

"Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia", Stamos wrote in a post published on Facebook's company blog.

A joint US intelligence report issued earlier this year said the Kremlin used social media and fake news postings to influence the election in favor of President Trump.

Following its April post-mortem on its platform's role in the 2016 USA presidential election, Facebook is out with some juicy new details. The Washington Post reported that Facebook traced the fake accounts to a Russian "troll farm" that has a history of promoting Russian propaganda.

Topics touched on included race issues, gay rights matters, gun rights and immigration, Facebook said.

According to Facebook, the majority of the ads did not reference either of the two presidential candidates previous year but were largely promoting divisive social issues, like immigration and gun control.

The acknowledgment by Facebook follows months of criticism that the social media company served as a platform for the spread of false information before the November election.

Mr Zuckerberg dismissed the notion that "fake news" on Facebook swayed the election as "crazy".

Facebook learned about the Russian connection as part of buyers of politically-motivated ads. However, according to official United States census data, there should only be 31m people of that age in the country.

Facebook says it has deleted the accounts and the pages in question. One search for ads purchased from U.S. internet addresses set to the Russian language turned up $50,000 worth of spending on 2,200 ads.

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