Thousands of Facebook Ads Tied to Bogus Russian Accounts

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In an update, Facebook said it found around $100,000 (£76,660) in ad spending from June 2015 to May 2017 was connected to inauthentic accounts affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation.

The $100,000 in question was associated with roughly 3,000 ads and about 470 pages that were all connected and likely operated out of Russia, Facebook said.

Stamos said a "majority" of the ads didn't specifically reference the presidential election or a particular candidate but did try to amplify divisive issues.

But the findings buttress USA intelligence agency conclusions that Russian Federation was actively involved in shaping the election.

"Our analysis suggests these accounts and pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation", he continued, adding that the use of inauthentic accounts violates Facebook's policies and that the company has shut down the accounts and pages it was able to identify.

Facebook announced the findings in a blog post by its chief security officer, Alex Stamos, and said that it was cooperating with federal inquiries into influence operations during the 2016 US presidential election.

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The latest review expanded on a report released in April by Facebook on the use of "fake news" and "false amplification" on the social network aimed at manipulating political discussion. The company was also criticized for not only doing enough to stop the spread of fake news.

Facebook was widely criticized in the wake of the election for its role in the proliferation of so-called fake news, which many believed help Donald Trump win the election. However, according to official U.S. census data, there should only be 31m people of that age in the country.

The social network said it also uncovered $50,000 more in ads clearly of a political nature that might have links to Russian Federation.

"We know we need to remain watchful to keep in front of individuals who attempt to abuse our stage", Mr Stamos composed.

Even if no laws were violated, the pages ran afoul of Facebook requirements for authenticity, setting up the suspensions.