Russia-linked Facebook ads reportedly targeted battleground states with anti-Muslim propaganda

US election campaign Millions of users saw Russian propaganda

The social media giant, Facebook has reported this Monday, that during U.S. election campaign 2016, the advertisements publicized on its forum connected to Russian state were visited by a total of about 10 million users.

"The impact is vastly disproportionate to the amount spent", said Benjamin G. Edelman, who teaches the economics of online markets at Harvard Business School.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced September 21 that the company would provide the ads to Congress and also make changes to ensure the political ads on its platform are more transparent. Russian Federation denies meddling in the election.

To improve its ad monitoring system, Facebook just announced plans to hire 1,000 more ad reviewers. "The ad transparency tool we're building will be accessible to anyone, including industry and political watchdog groups", the company said. It's possible that the 10 million number could be made up of people who saw multiple ads, but without exact figures, it's hard to tell.

Facebook had always been adamant that its platform hadn't been used by Russian Federation to spread propaganda relating to the presidential election, something that it has since had to admit it was wrong about. The feature is so focused, advertisers can target people who have returned from a vacation in the past week.

The true extent of the attempts to affect the presidential election have now been shared, after Facebook met with Congress to share further details about what occurred. These ads accounted for around $100,000 (£75,480) in ad spend. This is the first indication of which parts of the US the ads were targeting. Facebook has introduced strict restrictions on content and context of ads.

"The ads likely say things that are shocking but plausibly true", Mr. Edelman said. The intelligence community said Russian Federation did try to influence voters through a variety of means, but it's unclear how effective they were. "These ads are timely, relevant and provocative". They were used to get people to follow Facebook pages.

Twenty-five percent of the ads were never even shown to anyone "because advertising auctions are designed so that ads reach people based on relevance, and certain ads may not reach anyone as a result", Schrage explained.

"Forty-four percent of the ads were seen before the US election on November 8, 2016, fifty-six percent were seen after the election", Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president for policy and communications, said in a new post on Monday. Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said that the inquiry has certainly engendered more through interior inspection by the technology companies, which is affirmative.

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