Russian accounts bought Facebook ads during United States 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.

Facebook have shared their findings with USA authorities investigating the influence Russian Federation may have played in the presidential campaign.

A small portion of the ads, which began in the summer of 2015, directly named Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the people said.

He wrote in a blog post half of that money was spent on political ads by groups at least tangentially related to Russian Federation through IP addresses or language, with buys putting up advertisements that dealt with immigration, gun rights and LGBT issues.

"The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically reference the USA presidential election, voting or a particular candidate", Facebook's chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said in a blog post. President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have denied meddling in the US election.

Ellen Weintraub, a member of the U.S. Federal Election Commission, said U.S. voters deserve to know where election ads are coming from and that the money behind them is legal.

The acknowledgment by Facebook follows months of criticism that the social media company served as a platform for the spread of false information before the November election. At the time, a Facebook representative said that the company had seen "no evidence" of such ad-buying activity. One question that has emerged is whether there's a connection between the Russian efforts and ads purchased on Facebook. The newspaper didn't name the Russian company.

The social network said Wednesday it sold $100,000 worth of ads to inauthentic accounts likely linked to Russian Federation during the election.

She declined to comment on the Facebook ads, saying she could not comment on subjects that could come before the agency.

Facebook, which does not allow fake accounts, says it has shut down any that were still active.

The company said it found no link to any presidential campaign.

  • Joey Payne