Facebook says it sold political ads to fake Russian Federation accounts

The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration
The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration

07 September, 2017

The social media giant Facebook has said that around $100,000 (£76,500) worth of ad buys during the recently usa presidential election campaign came from "inauthentic accounts" that were linked and "likely run out of Russia".

Facebook officials said the fake accounts and pages had been connected to a shadowy Russian company called the Internet Research Agency, which is known for using "troll" accounts to post on social media and comment on news websites.

The $100,000 in question was associated with roughly 3,000 ads and about 470 pages that were all connected and likely operated out of Russia, Facebook said.

As per the post by Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos, the posts were more centered around sowing disunity than on advancing a specific hopeful.

The Washington Post reported that Facebook had disclosed the findings to congressional investigators on Wednesday. The company also removed 30,000 fake accounts before the French elections in April and tens of thousands of accounts before the United Kingdom's snap election in June.

Stamos spelled out just what was in the ads, saying that the majority didn't specifically reference the presidential election, voting, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

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Facebook has been under the microscope for months to explain how its platform was exploited during the last presidential campaign.

Another $50,000 went to about 2,200 "potentially politically related" ads and might have been bought by Russians in potential violation of US election law. That race remains under investigation for potential collusion between Trump's team and a Russian government that US intelligence agencies stated earlier this year had a "clear preference" for the Republican. Facebook did not say Mr Putin in a blog entry clarifying the advertisement purchases.

Facebook said the "inauthentic" accounts that bought the ads had been suspended.

Under federal law and Federal Election Commission regulations, both foreign nationals and foreign governments are prohibited from making contributions or spending money to influence a federal, state or local election in the United States. At the time, a Facebook representative said that the company had seen "no evidence" of such ad-buying activity.

Not all politically-related advertising by foreigners is illegal in America.

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