Facebook opens probe into Russian involvement in Brexit

Some have claimed Russia used the social network to influence the EU referendum

Some have claimed Russia used the social network to influence the EU referendum

Facebook Inc. said Wednesday that it was broadening its investigation into whether Russian Federation attempted to meddle in the 2016 referendum on Britain's membership in the European Union, after its earlier probe found only a minimal amount of activity.

The social network will now look for "other similar clusters engaged in coordinated activity around the Brexit referendum that was not identified previously".

"This work requires detailed analysis of historic data by our security experts, who are also engaged in preventing live threats to our service".

The British government earlier reported that it has not found evidence of a successful Russian intervention in the democratic processes of the country, including in the referendum.

The social media site told the Government's fake news inquiry it will search for "clusters engaged in coordinated activity around the Brexit referendum" which appear to have originated in Russian Federation. Many have urged more disclosure by Facebook, Twitter and other companies, which possess internal information about users and payments.


Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it would conduct a new, comprehensive search of its records for possible propaganda that Russian operatives may have spread during the run-up to Britain's 2016 referendum on European Union membership.

"We would like to carry out this work promptly and estimate it will take a number of weeks to complete", Milner wrote.

Facebook, which has more than 30m users in the United Kingdom, had originally said it had detected just 97 cents (70 pence) spent on adverts by Russian agents during the referendum, but its response was criticised as inadequate and narrow. The request was part of an inquiry the committee is conducting on fake news.

An independent investigation by the Guardian newspaper revealed that more than 400 bogus Twitter accounts run by the Russian agency have tried to meddle in British politics.

"I look forward to seeing the results of this investigation, and I'm sure we will want to question Facebook about this when we know the outcome", said Mr Collins.

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