Facebook Reveals The Sale Of Ads

Sep

7

2017

To A Russian Company Sought To Target American Voters

Facebook revealed Wednesday to congressional investigators that it sold political ads during the US presidential election of 2016 to a Russian company that was seeking to target American voters.

“When reviewing our ad purchase history, we found nearly $ 100,000 in advertising spend between June 2015 and May 2017,” Facebook security chief Alex Stamos said in a statement. Coupled with nearly 3,000 ads, have been linked to about 470 invalid accounts and pages that violate our policies. ”

“Our analysis indicates that these calculations and pages were linked to each other and likely to work from Russia,” Stamos said.

The disclosure, which the Washington Post was the first to talk about, came amid ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in US elections, including the use of social media to spread false news and propaganda.

Stamos said the ads, which included both traditional advertising and promotional publications, aimed to sow discord among US voters by amplifying “divisive social and political messages.” These issues ranged from “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues to race issues to migration to arms rights”.

Stamos added that about a quarter of the ads were geographically targeted, although a Facebook spokesman declined to specify where those ads were targeted.

In a review of the congressional investigators, Facebook said it found an additional $ 50,000 in political advertising spending during the election from other accounts linked to Russia.

According to a Facebook spokesman, the company sells its ads through a self-service advertising model, as buyers can choose demographic, geographic and interest-oriented targets. Given the size of these ads, Facebook says it was not able to determine the inherent nature of those ads that were purchased at that time. ”

In his statement, Stamos said that Facebook closed the implicated accounts that are still active. But the company is being criticized for its decision after launching ads or clarifying the role it played in targeting those ads.

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