Facebook planning to show users if they 'liked' Russian propaganda

Facebook planning to show users if they 'liked' Russian propaganda

"And it's also why we're building the tool we are announcing today".

Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before Congress this month, acknowledging that agents tied to the Russian government used their platforms to try to meddle with the USA elections.

Facebook has said it will release a tool that will allow users to check if they interacted with an account created by Russia's so-called "troll army".

U.S. lawmakers have criticised the tech firms for not doing more to detect the alleged election meddling, which the Russian government denies involvement in.

The Internet Research Agency has been described as a "troll farm", with the New York Times writing in 2015: "The agency had become known for employing hundreds of Russians to post pro-Kremlin propaganda online under fake identities [.] in order to create the illusion of a massive army of supporters". It will answer the user question, "How can I see if I've liked or followed a Facebook page or Instagram account created by the Internet Research Agency?"

As many as 126 million people could have been served posts on Facebook and 20 million on Instagram, the company says. Facebook has since deactivated the accounts.

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The web page will show only a list of accounts, not the posts or ads affiliated with them, according to a mock-up. That's the Russian firm that created thousands of incendiary posts from fake accounts posing as USA citizens.

It's Facebook's most direct effort to explain to users how they may have been affected by the IRA's postings, which reached an estimated 150 million people and stirred up controversy over gun rights, immigration, race relations and religion in the US, sometimes prompting real-world protests on both sides of a debate.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who had asked for notifications, said Facebook's plan "seems to be a serious response" to his request.

However, at a Congress hearing on November 1, a Facebook representative said: "It's a much more challenging issue to identify and notify reliably people who may have been exposed to this content on an individual basis".

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, called the move a "very positive step" in a statement.


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