Facebook reports massive Russian-funded misinformation social media campaign

Facebook reports massive Russian-funded misinformation social media campaign

8 September 2017

Social media giant Facebook claims to have uncovered a Russia-based campaign to spread divisive political and social messages through its site.

According to a report by BBC News, Facebook reports that $100,000 was spent on around 3,000 social and political ads — not promoting any particular political figure but pertaining to inflammatory topics such as race and immigration — over a two-year period, which ended in May 2017. The ads directed Facebook users to approximately 470 “inauthentic” accounts that disseminated false information or otherwise violated Facebook’s terms and conditions. Facebook has since shut down these accounts.

“The ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum,” Facebook stated in a blog post on Wednesday. While it could not confirm the claim, the company linked the 470 accounts to the notorious so-called Internet Research Agency, a St Petersburg-based group known for posting pro-Kremlin messages on social media and often referenced as a “troll factory”.

Facebook discovered the campaign as part of its internal investigation into possible abuses of the social network in the course of the last US presidential election campaign.

In response to Facebook’s findings, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has affirmed that Russia was not involved with the campaign.

“We have never heard of this, we do not know anything about this, let alone have anything to do with these affairs,” he was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

Source: BBC News