Thursday, September 7, 2017
Russian Operatives Bought Facebook Ads
Reuters reports Facebook, the dominant social media network, said 3,000 ads and 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages spread polarizing views on topics including immigration, race and gay rights.
Another $50,000 was spent on 2,200 “potentially politically related” ads, likely by Russians, Facebook said.
U.S. election law bars foreign nationals and foreign entities from spending money to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate. Non-U.S. citizens may generally advertise on issues. Other ads, such as those that mention a candidate but do not call for the candidate’s election or defeat, fall into what lawyers have called a legal gray area.
Facebook announced the findings in a blog post by its chief security officer, Alex Stamos, and said that it was cooperating with federal inquiries into influence operations during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Facebook briefed members of both the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees on Wednesday about the suspected Russia advertising, according to a congressional source familiar with the matter. Both committees are conducting probes into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, including potential collusion between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Moscow.
Facebook also gave its findings to Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of investigating alleged Russian interference in last year’s presidential election, a source familiar with the matter said. The company produced copies of advertisements as well as data about the buyers, the source said.
Posted 3:10:00 AM