Facebook to let users see if they followed Russian 'troll farm' pages

Facebook will soon alert users who liked a Russia-linked page

Facebook will help some users figure out if they saw Russian propaganda during the 2016 US presidential election

The web page, though, would fall short of their demands that Facebook individually notify users about Russian propaganda posts or ads they were exposed to. For those anxious they might have engaged with accounts created by the Internet Research Agency, Facebook is creating a tool showing users what Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts they Liked or followed that are associated with the notorious troll farm.

The Internet Research Agency, which is based in St. Petersburg, allegedly used social media as part of a wider Russian plot to sow divisions within the USA ahead of the 2016 presidential elections. "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".

Facebook previously disclosed that the Internet Research Agency had created 80,000 posts on 120 pages over more than two years that were meant to influence the USA presidential election.

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 tool would apply to accounts on both Facebook and Instagram, which has been owned by Facebook since 2012.

Facebook will help some users figure out if they saw Russian propaganda during the 2016 US presidential election

USA lawmakers late last month lashed out at executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google over what they called a failure to prevent abuses of their networks by Russian operatives during the presidential campaign. The moves should signal to lawmakers that they are taking the issue seriously. And more than 140 million people on Facebook and Instagram potentially saw Russian-sent stories because friends interacted with them. The search would also be limited to the January 2015 - August 2017 timeframe.

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. According to experts who have studied disinformation campaigns, that accounts for only a tiny sliver of the people Facebook estimate were affected by content Russian posted online.

Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat, called it a "very positive step" and said lawmakers look forward to additional steps by tech companies to improve transparency.


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