[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.