Facebook will let you see what Russian-linked content you followed

24 November, 2017, 01:33 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • Facebook will help some users figure out if they saw Russian propaganda during the 2016 US presidential election

"It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 US election", the leading online social network said in a blog post.

The tool is an attempt to fend of accusations that it is being secretive about the reach of fake Russian accounts, and that people are still unaware of what they have seen.

Facebook said its new portal would show users which IRA "Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts they may have liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017".

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However, not all of those users will be able to take advantage of the portal.

The new function will show a list of which pages a user liked, and the date they did so. And about 10 million users saw ads purchased by Kremlin agents around Election Day. About 29 million U.S. users saw content in their News Feeds produced by the Internet Research Agency, according to Facebook. The company believes some 146 million Americans were exposed to such posts.

Twitter banned the ads from RT (formally Russia Today) and the Sputnik news agency in October over election meddling.

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"It's a much more challenging issue to identify and notify reliably people who may have been exposed to this content on an individual basis", Colin Stretch, the company's general counsel, said during the appearance before Congress. While the US could follow the E.U.'s lead by giving consumers broad access to their personal data and how it's being used, that hasn't been a focus for Washington lawmakers.

Facebook insists that it's already taking steps to strengthen its privacy policies in the USA, partly in response to existing federal regulations.

On Google, Russian actors purchased a small number of ads around the 2016 presidential election.

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This move by Facebook follows a Senate hearing in which top Facebook reps were grilled for their mishandling of their own platform by allowing Russian Federation to "meddle" in the presidential election. "It's why we build tools and provide education that put people in control of their privacy, and why we continually engage with policymakers about the best ways to protect people, create jobs, build community and promote innovation".

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