Russian propaganda ads reached 10m US Facebook users


Those ads have been turned over to congressional investigators as well as Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who's leading an independent probe into the 2016 election.

Facebook said last month that the ads appear to have come from accounts associated with a Russian entity called the Internet Research Agency. The company said it sold $100,000 worth of ads to these sources.

Facebook vice president of communications Elliot Schrage on Monday posted answers to "hard questions" prompted by the Russian Federation ads.

Cost: For 50% of the ads, less than $3 was spent and for 99% of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent.

Even thought the ads were purchased with Russian currency, Schrage said that wouldn't have set off red flags.

Now, to increase transparency and accountability of advertisers, Facebook will also be showing what other ads are run by the page - immaterial of whether you figure in the advertiser's target audience or not.

"We're still looking for abuse and bad actors on our platform - our internal investigation continues", he said.

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On Monday, the world's biggest social platform announced plans to hire an additional 1000 employees to review ad submissions, along with other new policies and procedures created to improve the transparency of Facebook's advertising. In September, the social media giant disclosed that accounts affiliated with Russian Federation bought more than $100,000 in election-related ads.

Schrage said they were tailored to sow political divisions and to direct Facebook users to certain web pages promoting controversial matters. The companies have been asked to testify before the Senate on November 1.

None of the companies have said whether they will accept the invitations.

Timing: Facebook unveiled the information publicly shortly after it handed over the ads to Congress, likely getting ahead of any leaks. Mark Warner and California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence panels - have said they believe the American public should see them.

Facebook is not planning to release the ads to the public, and will not commit to sharing publicly greater details about the content of the ads and who they reached.

Approximately 10 million people actually saw the ads Russian Federation purchased, according to Facebook and the Times. Twitter only identified accounts that were linked to the accounts identified by Facebook.

Twitter's decision to share that information with Congress followed a report by the US government's top intelligence agencies, which slammed RT in January as the "Kremlin's principal worldwide propaganda outlet".