Facebook to let users see if they 'liked' Russian accounts

Allan Goodman
November 26, 2017

US lawmakers have criticized the tech firms for not doing more to detect the alleged election meddling, which the Russian government denies involvement in.

Facebook said the portal is part of its continuing effort to "protect" its platforms and users from "bad actors who try to undermine our democracy".

About 150 million users on Facebook and Instagram were exposed to the Russian content. The new tool will be available via its "Help Center" by the end of the year.

Users will find the tool via a newly created portal on their Facebook on Instagram page.

Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it would build a web page to allow users to see which Russian propaganda accounts they have liked or followed, after US lawmakers demanded that the social network be more open about the reach of the accounts. The web page, though, would fall short of their demands that Facebook individually notify users about Russian propaganda posts or ads they were exposed to.

"That's why, as we have discovered information, we have continually come forward to share it publicly and have provided it to congressional investigators". The company credits updates geared toward looking for political and social-focused accounts for the 30,000 accounts it disabled before this year's French election and tens of thousands of others removed before the German election.

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The accounts were active during the U.S. Presidential campaign and published a number of politically charged messages.

US lawmakers called the announcement a positive step. It won't work for users who saw posts from the accounts on their feed because a friend liked them or who saw them via paid advertisements.

Last month, Facebook revealed that people in Russian Federation had published thousands of posts via Facebook that were seen by up to 126 million Americans before and after Donald Trump's election win - with millions more Instagram users having also seen similar content.

Until a year ago, Facebook categorically denied the platform could be used for misinformation campaigns.

The disclosures in 2016 led to a putative class action lawsuit, which was filed by a Facebook investor in January.

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