Russian Firm Spent 100K on Facebook Ads During 2016 Election

first_img Podcasts Are TV Shows Now With ‘Limetown’ Trailer7 Icebreakers for Facebook’s New Dating Service Stay on target Facebook reportedly sold advertising space during the 2016 presidential election to a dodgy Russian company targeting US voters.The social network on Wednesday revealed that some 470 “inauthentic” accounts and Pages, “likely operated out of Russia,” spent approximately $100,000 on 3,000 ads between June 2015 and May 2017.Officials traced the sales to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of promoting pro-Kremlin propaganda, according to The Washington Post.Citing anonymous sources “familiar with the company’s findings,” the newspaper suggested a handful of the ads directly named then-nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos, however, claims “the vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the US presidential election, voting, or a particular candidate.”“Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum—touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights,” he wrote in a blog announcement.About a quarter of the ads were geographically targeted; of those, more ran in 2015 and 2016, according to Stamos.The accounts in question have been shut down, and the company has “shared our findings with US authorities investigating these issues.”It’s not so much a question of whether the Kremlin interfered in the election: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence in January stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered an influence campaign” to discredit Clinton and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.”The real concern is whether Russia helped to spread misinformation and influence how Americans voted.Facebook came under fire in November for allowing what many considered false news to run rampant on the popular platform—a criticism CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed as being “a pretty crazy idea.”The firm has since cracked down on bogus content by introducing new reporting functions and launching coalitions; it recently took action against fake accounts in France and Germany, and no longer allow Pages that repeatedly share fraudulent stories. And it’s not finished yet.Facebook is exploring “several new improvements,” Stamos said, highlighting better detection tools and more efficient early intervention against inauthentic accounts.“We’re constantly updating our efforts in this area [and] will continue to invest in our people and technology to help provide a safe place for civic discourse and meaningful connections,” he added.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more