Russian page advertises political posts worth $100000 on Facebook

Facebook says shadowy Russian group spent $100000 on 'divisive' adverts during US election

"The ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum", Facebook said in a blog post published on Wednesday, according to the BBC. These ads were, of course, created to boost Donald Trump's chances of winning the election while attacking Hillary Clinton. It seems absurd to think a few nonspecific ads here and there on Facebook were enough to throw the election to a candidate who was polling as far behind their opponent as Trump was with Clinton.

Facebook's findings affirm the conclusions of US intelligence agencies, which issued a 14-page declassified assessment in January.

Facebook has targeted Russia in a review of ad purchases, searching for those which originated in Russia or used the Russian language from an IP address in the United States - even though the ads "didn't necessarily violate any policy or law". 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. Disguising malicious ads targeted at specific people could sway anyone who's on the fence about a particular issue-and potentially lead them to support whichever candidate aligns with their new perspective. The company is sharing its findings with USA investigators.

"I have a lot more questions for Facebook, and I've got a lot of questions for Twitter", Warner said, noting that "we've got Twitter coming in".

According to Facebook, about $50,000 of the funds - about 2,200 ads- were potentially related to impacting USA politics.

Gizmodo contacted Facebook for more information about the ad buys but had not heard back at time of writing. Both committees are hunting for evidence of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including potential collusion between Moscow and Donald Trump's campaign. President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have denied involvement in the USA election.

Facebook briefed members of both the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees on Wednesday about the suspected Russian Federation advertising, according to a congressional source familiar with the matter. The stated source was a senior USA intelligence official who remained anonymous, and at the time, Facebook denied that any evidence of these ad buys existed, all while Rep. Mark Warner (D-VA) of the Senate Intelligence Committee began to dig into reported evidence, and researchers discovered similar activity on Twitter, where Russian bots were churning out political tweets like insane. McClatchy reported in July, for example, that investigators scrutinizing the Russian Federation scandal "are examining whether the Trump campaign's digital operation - overseen by Jared Kushner - helped guide Russia's sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016". He also questioned whether other social networks ran Russian ads.

Facebook has been accused of allowing the proliferation of fake news and geo-targeted disinformation during the USA presidential campaign.

Some 170 million people in North America use Facebook every day. They accounted for another US$50 000.

Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, has vowed to shut down these kinds of operations.

Facebook's disclosure may be the first time a private entity has pointed to receiving Russian money related to US elections, said Brendan Fischer, a program director at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington nonprofit that advocates for more transparency.

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