Facebook will make it easier for users to view that if they have followed Facebook or Instagram accounts backed by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency (IRU). The company believes some 146 million Americans were exposed to such posts. The group created fake accounts to spread Russian propaganda on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, which is why Facebook is specifically targeting pages created by the firm.
Previously, many USA officials and media outlets accused Moscow of trying to shift public opinion in favor of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. And it's not all aimed at supporting Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton but includes such social issues as gun rights, immigration, Black Lives Matter, and more.
"It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 USA election", the company wrote in a blog post. That's important because paid reach and reshared posts by other users are how numerous 146 million Facebook and Instagram users encountered election interference content.
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Facebook will only be showing people the names of the pages and accounts, not the content. Facebook plans to offer a specific portal where users can see if they have been engaged with pages linked to Russian propaganda efforts. It will not help those who might have seen Russian propaganda because it appeared in their News Feeds as a result of their friends "liking" it. Recode also states that users who saw any of the approximately 3,000 ads purchased by the organization before the 2016 elections won't benefit from the portal either.
Facebook settled with the FTC the next year, agreeing to get users' express consent before changing privacy settings and to subject the company to independent audits of its privacy practices.
Last month, Facebook representatives testified on the alleged Russian Federation involvement before the US Senate Judiciary Committee. Many senators, including those on the hearing committee, publicly attacked the social media for not doing more to prevent the 'attack'. The tool applies to users who followed or liked those accounts.
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Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, called the move a "very positive step" in a statement.
While Facebook is introducing the tool to try and make the Russian activity more transparent, the platform is facing criticism over the portal's technical limitations. Nor does Facebook's new effort help those who may have viewed any of the roughly 3,000 election-timed ads purchased by Russia's so-called IRA.
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