Juha Saarinen: Social media subversion on Facebook and Twitter attracts political fury

Russian propaganda ads reached 10m US Facebook users

Russian propaganda ads reached 10m US Facebook users

The 2016 USA election was the first where evidence has been widely reported that foreign actors sought to exploit the internet to influence voter behavior. When paying to promote content on Facebook, it is easy-and indeed more cost-efficient-to direct it at a specific group of people, based on geography and political leaning, among other factors.

Schrage, while criticizing the ad buyers for using fake accounts, also said numerous ads otherwise "did not violate our content policies" and could have remained if bought using real accounts. This is likely because its auction is designed so that ads only reach people based on relevance, and those ads just didn't make the cut. Facebook estimates the ads, in total, were seen by 10 million people.

Facebook will hire 1,000 additional people to the internal team that reviews and removes Facebook ads, according to details shared via email with Recode by a Facebook spokesperson.

That description matches what CNN has already reported about the apparent goal of the Russian buyers: to amplify political discord in the United States and fuel an atmosphere of divisiveness and chaos, especially during the presidential election.

As investigators in the House, Senate and Robert Mueller's office continue to dig through evidence provided to them by social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, a faucet of new information has been seemingly turned on.

The news website that first posted on the marketed events published on Facebook, The Daily Beast, claimed that one ad marketed an anti-immigrant gathering in August 2016 in Idaho.

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However, lawmakers state that they don't entirely have credence in Facebook after the company refused their inceptive demand for attributes about prospective Russian impact.

In response to the criticism, Facebook Inc (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company had outlined a series of steps to avoid such incidents in the future.

Reach and exposure: 44% of the ads were seen before the election on November 8, 2016 and 56% were seen after. The intelligence community said Russian Federation did try to influence voters through a variety of means, but it's unclear how effective they were.

Whether Russians were working with the Trump campaign to gain access to key data analytics is yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that investigators will eventually find out.

"As a general rule, we are limited in what we can discuss publicly about law enforcement investigations, so we may not always be able to share our findings publicly", Zuckerberg said.

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