Facebook launches investigation into Russian influence in European Union referendum

19 January, 2018, 02:04 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Some have claimed Russia used the social network to influence the EU referendum

It wrote a letter to Damian Collins, chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, stating it would make "all reasonable efforts to establish whether or not there was coordinated activity similar to that which has been found in the U.S.".

"We are committed to making all reasonable efforts to establish whether or not there was coordinated activity similar to which we found in the US", Simon Milner, Facebook's United Kingdom policy director, wrote in the letter.

Mr. Collins said he believes there is a growing body of evidence that Russian Federation interfered in the referendum.

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Facebook's new search in Britain will require the company's security experts to go back and analyze historical data.

Russian Federation denies meddling in Britain's vote to exit the European Union, known as Brexit, or in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Facebook faces a greater challenge in identifying potential Russian activity around the Brexit vote - if any exists - because British intelligence agencies have not identified a list of suspected accounts, as the American agencies did. "We are committed to making all reasonable efforts to establish whether or not there was coordinated activity similar to that which we found in the USA and will report back to you as soon as the work has been completed", his letter said. At the same time, the company announced yesterday that they would begin to notify their US users who were exposed to Russian propaganda.

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Despite this, Facebook has reportedly bowed to pressure from politicians and will once again conduct an investigation into whether or not Russians used the social media platform to spread disinformation and influence the Brexit vote. Governments and intelligence agencies have pressured Facebook, Twitter and Google to investigate meddling that has already occurred and asked them to ensure it will be prevented in future. In December, Facebook said in response to Collins' inquiry that a mere $0.97 was spent by Russia's Internet Research Agency on the referendum-related ads.

"You expressed a view that there may be other similar coordinated activity from Russian Federation that we had not yet identified through our investigation and asked for us to continue our investigatory work".

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