Facebook says over 126 million Americans viewed Russian-sponsored US election posts and adverts
Oct 31, 2017 Technology 6303 By Michelle Clarke
- Facebook says over 126 million Americans viewed Russian-sponsored US election posts and adverts
- This figure is half the total number of registered U.S. voters.
- Facebook however does not believe that the Russian-backed posts did not influence voting.
Facebook has disclosed that Russian-sponsored posts and adverts reached around 126 million Americans in the build up to last year's presidential elections.
This disclosure comes
as the social media company prepares to attend a congressional hearing set up to determine the influence the russian-backed activities had on the outcome of the elctions.
Since the first set of allegations emerged, the Russian government has strongly denied any role in the act and has restated that it is not interested in swaying the electoral process in any foreign nation.
Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, said in the written testimony that the 80,000 posts from Russia’s Internet Research Agency were a tiny fraction of content on Facebook, equal to one out of 23,000 posts.
However, the posts violated Facebook’s terms of service, and any amount of such activity using fake accounts is too much, Stretch wrote.
“These actions run counter to Facebook’s mission of building community and everything we stand for. And we are determined to do everything we can to address this new threat,” he wrote.
“Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been served one of their stories at some point during the two-year period. This equals about four-thousandths of 1% (0.004%) of content in news feed, or approximately one out of 23,000 pieces of content,” Stretch added in his written testimony, obtained by several news outlets.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, had previously dismissed the notion that the social network had an impact on the presidential race, describing it as a “pretty crazy idea” and saying that voters “make decisions based on their lived experience”.
In September, Zuckerberg expressed remorse for his earlier statements.
“After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea. Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it,” the founder wrote. “This is too important an issue to be dismissive.”