Facebook Provides Russia-Linked Ads to Congress

Social media company estimates 10M saw the ads
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 2, 2017 6:22 PM CDT
Facebook Provides Russia-Linked Ads to Congress
This July 16, 2013, file photo shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Social media giant Facebook is expected to provide Congress on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, with more than 3,000 ads that ran around the time of the 2016 presidential election and are linked to a Russian ad agency.    (Ben Margot)

Facebook says ads that ran on the company's social media platform and have been linked to a Russian internet agency were seen by an estimated 10 million people before and after the 2016 election, the AP reports. In a new company blog post, Facebook's Elliot Schrage says the ads appeared to focus on divisive social and political messages, including LGBT issues, immigration, and gun rights. Fewer than half of the ads were seen before the election, with 56% of them seen after the election. Some of the ads were paid for in Russian currency. Facebook officials turned over the more than 3,000 ads on Monday to three congressional committees that are investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election.

Facebook also announced more measures to increase transparency in advertising Monday, saying it will hire more than 1,000 people for global ad review teams, according to a Facebook official. Facebook will also update its policies to require better documentation from advertisers who want to run ads related to the US election, including a requirement that the advertisers will have to confirm the business or organization they represent. The official declined to be named because the new measures haven't yet been officially announced. Per CNN, Facebook does not plan to release details of the Russia-linked ads publicly, but sources say the ads were meant to "incite outrage" and "amplify political discord in the US." One reportedly depicted refugees as rapists; another was apparently meant to stir up anger over police shootings of black people. (More Facebook stories.)

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