(Getty/Sean Gallup)

Facebook admits it has a big Russia problem

10 million people saw political ads sponsored by Russia, designed to divide Americans


Matthew Rozsa
October 3, 2017 3:25PM (UTC)

Facebook announced on Monday that approximately 10 million of its users saw political ads designed to divide America along cultural rifts — and those ads were sponsored by Russia.

The ads in questions were the ones that had been sponsored by Russia and focused on "divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum, touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights," Facebook said in a public statement Monday.

Advertisement:

"The 2016 U.S. election was the first where evidence has been widely reported that foreign actors sought to exploit the internet to influence voter behavior," Facebook said. "We understand more about how our service was abused and we will continue to investigate to learn all we can."

Roughly a quarter of the ads were never seen by anyone, and only 44 percent of the ads were displayed before the Election Day, Facebook added.

"We’re stepping up tomorrow to help Congress understand foreign interference on the ad platform and to make improvements to the ad platform to enhance transparency," Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice president for U.S. public policy, told The Washington Post. "We’re committed to doing our part to prevent this type of malicious interference."

Facebook said it is taking a number of steps to thwart Russian meddling on its social media platform in the future. They're increasing documentation requirements to weed out phony political organizations, hiring 1,000 new ad reviewers and requiring any group that runs political ads to publicly post copies of them, the social network said.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alt Right Donald Trump Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Racism Russia

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••






Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •