Facebook to Inform Users If They Liked a Russian Propaganda Account

24 November, 2017, 01:32 | Author: Marie Harrington
  • REUTERS

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.

The portal will be enable users to see if they have liked or followed any Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, Russia's propaganda machine, between January 2015 and August 2017 in particular.

The new function will show a list of which pages a user liked, and the date they did so. 20 million Americans saw a combination of Russian troll ads and direct posts on Instagram. The company believes some 146 million Americans were exposed to such posts.

Facebook was very light on details in announcing the portal, and it did not say just how many users might be able to use it. Recode estimates this number to be in the millions.

While Facebook will show some users the affiliated pages they liked or followed, the company maintains that technical and privacy reasons keep it from showing whether such propaganda was merely shown to someone as a paid ad or as a post in the News Feed. 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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At a House Intelligence Committee hearing on November 1, Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch 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". Users will basically be told if they were part of the problem during the recent attack on U.S. Democracy.

All three tech giants had until today to inform Blumenthal of their plans. On Twitter, Russian trolls maintained thousands of since-shuttered accounts, often amplified by bots.

Facebook has created a tool that will allow users to see if they liked or followed any accounts linked to Russia's "Internet Research Agency" that intentionally spread misinformation leading up to the 2016 USA presidential election.

Facebook has been under intense scrutiny for the role its platform played in the election. "It's why we build tools and provide education that put people in control of their privacy, and why we continually engage with policymakers about the best ways to protect people, create jobs, build community and promote innovation".

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