Facebook: Russian-linked accounts bought $150000 in ads during 2016 campaign

Image stephen lam  Getty Images

Image stephen lam Getty Images

The social media giant Facebook has said that around $100,000 (£76,500) worth of ad buys during the recently United States presidential election campaign came from "inauthentic accounts" that were linked and "likely run out of Russia".

Facebook (FB) representatives told congressional investigators on Wednesday that it has discovered it sold ads to a Russian company seeking to target American voters during the 2016 election, according to a report from The Washington Post.

Stamos said on Wednesday that the political ads that were bought by the fraudulent Russia-linked accounts between June 2015 and May of this year.

Facebook told the congressional investigators that numerous ads promoted 470 fake accounts and pages spreading polarizing views on topics such as immigration, gun rights, race, and gay rights.

Beyond the issue ads, Facebook said it uncovered another $50,000 in political advertising that might have a link to Russian Federation.

The acknowledgment by Facebook follows months of criticism that the social media company served as a platform for the spread of false information before the November election.

THAAD launchers set for deployment amid protests
Washington rejects the proposal; Putin insisted it "offers a genuine way to defuse the tensions and a step-by-step settlement". The North says it detonated a hydrogen bomb in its sixth nuclear test on Sunday.

According to the company's statement, the vast majority of the ads connected to Russian Federation did not directly reference the election, voting or specific candidates. The official added that the ads "were directed at people on Facebook who had expressed interest in subjects explored on those pages, such as LGBT community, black social issues, the Second Amendment, and immigration".

The company said it found no link to any presidential campaign.

Facebook said it was cooperating with inquiries by Congress into whether Russian Federation sought to influence the election. In that review, about 2,200 ads - amounting to $50,000 in spending - were purchased from accounts that had U.S. Internet Protocol (IP) addresses but had a language set to Russian.

But the findings buttress US intelligence agency conclusions that Russian Federation was actively involved in shaping the election.

"It is completely unacceptable that Facebook says it will not release the actual ads it showed to its users", Pierre Omidyar, the entrepreneur and eBay founder, wrote on Twitter.

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