Facebook creates tool that lets users see whether they 'liked' Russian propaganda

Allan Goodman
November 25, 2017

Having admitted that Russian Federation bought ads on the site, Facebook is now developing a tool that will enable users to determine if they interacted with the Internet Research Agency - the propaganda company also known as the Trolls from Olgino.

The portal will be live by the end of the year, Facebook said, and will show users which accounts sponsored by the Internet Research Agency - a known Russia-backed page - they liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017. The tool will possibly won't tell whether you saw or shared posts from the accounts, but will only indicate whether you have been engaged with them directly.

As it is, users will have to see a story about the tool and opt to head to it and check what they had seen.

Divisive social media posts and ads were used as part of a wider Russian plot to sow divisions within the USA ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

The Internet Research Agency, which is based in St. Petersburg, allegedly used social media as part of a wider Russian plot to sow divisions within the US ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

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Facebook says the propaganda came from the Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization that according to lawmakers and researchers employs hundreds of people to push pro-Kremlin content under phony social media accounts.

It was not clear if Facebook would eventually do more, such as sending individualized notifications to users.

Facebook has also failed to address whether it will show people if they were targeted by Russia-paid political advertisements, which reached as many as 150 million users on Facebook and Instagram. The issue of Russian digital influence has been so troubling and potentially so widespread, Congress even called top officials from Facebook (as well as Twitter and Google) to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.

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