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Facebook says it sold political ads to Russian company during 2016 election

Facebook says it sold political ads to Russian company during 2016 election”

Facebook says an internal investigation has found $100,000 in advertising spending by hundreds of fake accounts and pages likely operated out of Russian Federation that sought to sow political division during the US presidential election.

In a post written by chief security officer, Alex Stamos, the company said that the findings came after a review in the wake of questions over targeted political advertising on social media during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

Facebook teams then discovered 470 suspicious and likely fraudulent Facebook accounts and pages that it believes operated out of Russian Federation, had links to the company and were involved in promoting the ads.

The ads violated Facebook's policies, and the company said it had shut down the 470 pages and accounts associated with them.

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"Our analysis suggests these accounts and pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation", he added, before saying that the accounts had been shut down.

"We have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary", Facebook said. The company was also criticized for not only doing enough to stop the spread of fake news.

The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically reference the United States presidential election, voting or a particular candidate.

In addition to that $100,000, another $50,000 in political ad spending is thought to have loose connections to Russia that suggest Russian origins, including "ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian". "If Facebook has data on this, it needs to share it". While the amount of spending on the ads was nominal at best, the fact that it even occurred is likely to reinforce concerns expressed by some Democrats that Russian Federation may have used Facebook to promote narratives that flattered Trump and bashed Clinton in key Rust Belt swing states that helped the real estate mogul take the White House.

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"We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform", Stamos wrote.

About $50,000 of the funds - about 2,200 ads- were potentially related to impacting USA politics. The entity was called the Internet Research Agency.

Those banned from such spending include foreign citizens, foreign governments, foreign political parties, foreign corporations, foreign associations and foreign partnerships, according to the FEC.

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