JUST IN: Facebook Reveals 126 Million People Saw Russian-Planted Posts
Political Dig has learned that Facebook has identified 80,000 Russian Government-linked posts on its platform that sought to interfere in the 2016 election and were viewed by up to 126 million people.
That estimate, which is equivalent to more than half of the total U.S. voting population, offers a new understanding of the scope of Russia’s use of social media to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and in American society generally.
Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch will inform lawmakers Tuesday that the so-called organic posts were planted by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency between June 2015 and August 2017, CNN reports.
Stretch will testify that the 126 million people potentially exposed to the posts is an outermost limit of their impact, given that Facebook users often skip over posts in their feeds.
“Many of the ads and posts we’ve seen so far are deeply disturbing — seemingly intended to amplify societal divisions and pit groups of people against each other,” Stretch said in a written testimony, according to CNN. “They would be controversial even if they came from authentic accounts in the United States. But coming from foreign actors using fake accounts, they are simply unacceptable.”
The general counsel will also testify that Facebook established a conclusive link between APT 28 — a hacking group also known as “Fancy Bear” that has been connected to Russian military intelligence — and the website DC Leaks, a self-proclaimed activist site that researchers have said is a Russian front for posting stolen emails from U.S. political targets.
Facebook has been keeping a calendar of upcoming elections around the world and is using “internal and external resources to best predict the threat level to each,” Stretch will say, according to the report.