Facebook Inc says it found about US$100,000 (RM421,700) in ad spending connected to fake accounts likely run from Russian Federation that aimed to stir political controversy in the U.S. ahead of last year's presidential election.
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos, however, claims "the vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically reference the United States presidential election, voting, or a particular candidate". Instead, the ads focused on a wide variety of issues that were red hot during elections like gun rights, immigration, LGBT rights, and racism. It has reported that between June 2015 and May 2017 there were nearly 470 inauthentic accounts who purchased 3,000 ads. Facebook said that these accounts and pages all seem to be connected to each other and likely were led by an operation out of Russian Federation.
Facebook said it has shut down remaining active accounts and is looking at steps to avoid similar problems in the future. Facebook's announcement does appear to fit with the overall conclusion of the US intelligence community that Russian Federation attempted to interfere in the 2016 election, leading some to feel vindicated.
Facebook has shared its findings with the USA authorities investigating these issues.
It is possible that there are more shadowy ad buys that Facebook has yet to identify.
The fake accounts were discovered during a company review of ad buys that was spurred by a broader investigation the company initiated into Russian meddling after the election, Stamos said.
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Stamos said Facebook began its review to determine 'whether there's a connection between the Russian efforts (to influence the U.S. election) and ads purchased on Facebook. Asides from that, it channeled another $50,000 on 2,200 "potentially politically related" ads, most probably by Russians.
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos has revealed all the data which were used during the election period in USA between June 2015 and May 2017.
And Facebook plays an outsized role in delivering news to Americans - 67 percent of American adults use the site, and 44 percent of US adults get news on the social network, according to a Pew Research Center survey from 2016. They were connected to about 470 fake accounts and pages on the social network.
The fake accounts were linked to a company called the Internet Research Agency, a "troll farm" that uses social media operations to promote Kremlin propaganda, The Washington Post reported. There have been claims that there was indeed a collusion between Moscow and the heated up campaign of President Donald Trump.
"We have never heard about this and know nothing about this".
Any ad purchases as described by this WP report would violate FEC rules prohibiting foreign nationals and governments from either spending money or making contributions that influence U.S. elections on the federal, state, or local level.