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Facebook: Sources Likely in Russia Bought Ads During US Campaign

2017-09-09

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[00:00.00]
  • Facebook says an operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 to buy advertisements promoting political and social issues in the United States.
  • [00:18.26]
  • The company said about 3,000 ads were bought by people operating nearly 500 fake Facebook accounts.
  • [00:30.94]
  • The ads ran between June 2015 and May 2017, within the period of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
  • [00:44.75]
  • In a blog post, Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said most of the ads did not specifically name the U.S. election or any candidates.
  • [01:01.42]
  • Rather, they appeared aimed at “amplifying divisive social and political messages” on a range of major issues.
  • [01:13.53]
  • These included LGBT rights, race relations and gun control.
  • [01:21.79]
  • A Facebook investigation found the fake accounts were related to each other and “likely operated out of Russia.”
  • [01:33.33]
  • The company said it does not allow “inauthentic” accounts and all were removed.
  • [01:41.70]
  • Facebook also said it had identified another 2,200 ads bought for about $50,000 that “might have originated in Russia.”
  • [01:57.32]
  • These included ads bought by accounts with IP addresses in the U.S. that were set to the Russian language.
  • [02:08.41]
  • Facebook said the behavior shown in the ad buys is similar to methods used by what it calls “false amplifiers” who operated during the 2016 campaign.
  • [02:26.00]
  • Methods included the posting of fake stories on social media to misinform and confuse the public.
  • [02:36.15]
  • Earlier this year, Facebook announced several new policies intended to prevent users from spreading misinformation and fake news.
  • [02:50.31]
  • The company said it is continuing to investigate possible ways Russian sources may have used its service as a way to influence the 2016 election.
  • [03:05.72]
  • It added that it is cooperating with a federal investigation into the issue led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • [03:17.84]
  • Mueller’s investigation is also looking into any possible contacts between then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team and Russian officials.
  • [03:33.22]
  • I’m Bryan Lynn.
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