House intel committee will release Russian-funded Facebook ads

12 October, 2017, 01:03 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Screen Shot 2017 10 05

The sprawling inquiry into the extent of Russian attempts to purchase ads on the U.S. internet before the 2016 USA federal elections has expanded to yet another digital giant, with Microsoft confirming that it has launched an internal investigation into whether it sold such advertisements via its Bing search engine. Google now runs the world's largest online advertising business.

Facebook said last week that modelling showed that 10 million people saw the Russian-bought ads by the 470 pages and accounts controlled by the Internet Research Agency. Google's review had been more robust than ones undertaken so far by Facebook or Twitter, the source said.

The company hosting Facebook's ads is caught up in its own advertising controversy after a Washington Post report on Monday alleged that Russian agents spent "tens of thousands of dollars" on Google's platforms-YouTube, Gmail, and search-to spread propaganda. On Sunday, the Daily Beast news website reported that the Kremlin recruited at least two black video bloggers to post clips on YouTube during the campaign.

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Schiff said congressional investigators will ask the companies "why it has taken them so long to discover the Russian use of their technology and how thorough their forensic effort has been, what the impediments are, and how much work remains to be done, and, of course, most importantly, how are they going to ferret this out in the future".

Recently, Facebook has done some changes in its advertising programs, adding strict rules in choosing ads destination and other information, especially related to politics and religion. But last week, the company was reported to be looking into the matter.

The reason that its disconcerting is around this time previous year in 2016 Microsoft were actually informed by Google that a hacking group linked to the Russian government and United States political hacks were exploiting a Windows 10 security flaw. In September, the social network said it found $100,000 worth of spending on divisive political ads on its platform by hundreds of Russian-linked fake accounts and pages during a period that included the 2016 presidential election.

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Some Democrats plan to introduce legislation to require internet companies to disclose more information about political ad purchases on their platforms.

Wednesday's meetings are ahead of a November 1 House Intelligence Committee hearing at which Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to testify. Google and Twitter reportedly did not collaborate on the effort, which is supposedly still in its early stages.

Facebook ad regulations will get tougher.

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