May 23, 2018

Facebook to let users see if they 'liked' Russian accounts

26 November 2017, 12:59 | Rudolph Thomas

Facebook users will soon be able to see if they interacted with Russian trolls

Facebook New Tool

Facebook said on Wednesday, Nov. 22, that it will roll out a new tool later this year to help users determine if the pages they like or follow on Facebook or Instagram is secretly being run by Russian trolls.

Facebook said the portal is part of its continuing effort to "protect" its platforms and users from "bad actors who try to undermine our democracy".

Over the last few months the company has identified thousands of posts and paid advertisements placed by Russia-based operatives.

"It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 USA election", Facebook said in a blog post.

"We will soon be creating a portal to enable people on Facebook to learn which of the Internet Research Agency Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts they may have liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017", Facebook said in its statement. Facebook has confirmed that 29 million Americans saw Russian propaganda content on their newsfeed, while 126 million shared posts.

In 2016, the company announced that it undercounted the traffic of some publishers and for more than a year had over-reported time spent on Facebook's Instant Articles platform. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal also called on the tech giants to alert consumers if they were exposed to the Russian-purchased content or ads. Users may have seen content that spread organically or as a result of a paid ad. Facebook has argued that it's especially hard to be able to show that information.

Stretch said that Facebook has attempted to notify users about the issue "broadly" through information published on their website including a white paper and a hard questions blog.

Congress recently released a sample of the divisive Russia-bought Facebook ads that covered a range of hot topics including immigration, LGBTQ rights, race relations, Islamaphobia, police brutality and gun control. He also sent letters to Google and Twitter.

Facebook added: "It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 United States election".

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