Since the 2016 election, Facebook has been tackling issues regarding the misuse of their popular networking site. In other words, users have been using it not to connect, but to divide. Specifically, the social media platform has been questioned on whether there has been a connection between the alleged Russian interference with the electoral process and ads purchased on the site.
Facebook reviewed ad buys and have revealed that from June of 2015 to May of 2017 there was approximately $100,000 in ad spending associated with about 3,000 ads. These ads were connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation with their policies. According to an analysis conducted by Facebook, these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and were likely based on of Russia.
In a previous report — or white paper as they call it — published by Facebook, there was extensive information and parameters about civic engagement on their platform. The report also drew out their mission statement of keeping the world connected while CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “It is our responsibility to amplify the good effects and mitigate the bad — to continue increasing diversity while strengthening our common understanding so our community can create the greatest positive impact on the world.”
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That said, Facebook has reiterated the fact that they don’t allow inauthentic accounts on Facebook and have since shut down accounts that they identified as such and were still active. Although the vast majority of ads from these accounts didn’t reference the Presidential election, they focused on divisive social and political messages including issues about race as well as topics regarding LGBTQ, immigration and gun rights.
Facebook has since shared their findings with U.S. authorities and is working with them on the investigation.
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