On Wednesday Facebook linked the purchase of over $100,000 worth of political ads during the US 2016 elections to Russia.
Both Russia and Trump’s campaign team have denied any form of partnership. However, the speculations that the Russian government interfered in the elections still rates high.
According to the latest report from the world’s leading social network, a total of 3000 political ads were bought by accounts which they identify as “inauthentic” between June 2015 and May 2017.
The official statement by Facebook’s Chief security Officer, Alex Stamos read thus:
“There have been a lot of questions since the 2016 US election about Russian interference in the electoral process. In April we published a white paper that outlined our understanding of organized attempts to misuse our platform.”
“One question that has emerged is whether there’s a connection between the Russian efforts and ads purchased on Facebook. These are serious claims and we’ve been reviewing a range of activity on our platform to help understand what happened.”
“In reviewing the ads buys, we have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 – associated with roughly 3,000 ads – that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies. Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.”
Stamos noted that Facebook does not permit the operation of fake accounts and pages. Thus the nearly 500 accounts have been shut down.
He said most of the ads did not directly make references to the elections but “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages” like LGBT matters, race issues, immigration and gun rights.
“About one-quarter of these ads were geographically targeted, and of those, more ran in 2015 than 2016.”
Going further on, he pledged Facebook’s total co-operation with the authorities. Already they have updated the investigation department with the latest discovery.
Stamos seized the opportunity to stress that it is not their pleasure that fraudulent activities are perpetuated with the social platform. However he urged advertisers to comply with the terms and conditions of the platform.
Earlier this year, Facebook made technological improvements that will help to detect and stop the dissemination of fake news.
With the latest finding, the company is currently working on similar techniques to detect and automatically stop the creation of inauthentic Facebook accounts and pages.
Adam Schiff, a top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in an interview on CNN that the latest finding proves there is a truth to the allegations leveled against the Russian government.
“We, I think, already knew the Russians were using paid social media trolls to try to influence the election, try to sow discord.”
“This certainly confirms that finding.”
Another Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner likewise says he hopes this piece of information will aid ongoing investigation and open doors to more answers.