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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
Facebook lied about profiting off of Russian fake news operation in 2016 election
Days after Trump won the presidency via the Electoral College, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, "The idea that fake news, of which it’s a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea." As recently as this July, as investigators honed in on the question of whether the Trump campaign assisted Russian intelligence officials in targeting their fake news operations, Facebook said, "We have seen no evidence that Russian actors bought ads on Facebook in connection with the election." Yet today, low and behold, after election interference investigators continued to hound Facebook for the truth, Facebook finally came clean.
Here's Facebook spinning their role in the sabotaging of the election, playing it all down and emphasizing the value the company supposedly places on authenticity and safety, after lying about it for the last 10 months. Gosh, they care so much. Note that Facebook has configured this post to not appear in search engines.
September 6, 2017
An Update On Information Operations On Facebook
By Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer
There have been a lot of questions since the 2016 US election about Russian interference in the electoral process. In April we published a white paper that outlined our understanding of organized attempts to misuse our platform. One question that has emerged is whether there’s a connection between the Russian efforts and ads purchased on Facebook. These are serious claims and we’ve been reviewing a range of activity on our platform to help understand what happened.
In reviewing the ads buys, we have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 — associated with roughly 3,000 ads — that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies. Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.
We don’t allow inauthentic accounts on Facebook, and as a result, we have since shut down the accounts and Pages we identified that were still active.
In this latest review, we also looked for ads that might have originated in Russia — even those with very weak signals of a connection and not associated with any known organized effort. This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian — even though they didn’t necessarily violate any policy or law. In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads.
We have shared our findings with US authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary.
Authentic Activity Matters
We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform. We believe in protecting the integrity of civic discourse, and require advertisers on our platform to follow both our policies and all applicable laws. We also care deeply about the authenticity of the connections people make on our platform.
Earlier this year, as part of this effort, we announced technology improvements for detecting fake accounts and a series of actions to reduce misinformation and false news. Over the past few months, we have taken action against fake accounts in France, Germany, and other countries, and we recently stated that we will no longer allow Pages that repeatedly share false news to advertise on Facebook.
Along with these actions, we are exploring several new improvements to our systems for keeping inauthentic accounts and activity off our platform. For example, we are looking at how we can apply the techniques we developed for detecting fake accounts to better detect inauthentic Pages and the ads they may run. We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.
Our ongoing work on these automated systems will complement other planned projects to help keep activity on Facebook authentic. We’re constantly updating our efforts in this area, and have introduced a number of improvements, including:
We will continue to invest in our people and technology to help provide a safe place for civic discourse and meaningful connections on Facebook.