Russian Trolls Spent $100000 on Facebook Ads Around the Election

Facebook says 'likely' Russian operation spent money on ads with divisive political messages

Facebook: Russian group spent $100000 on ads during 2016 election

It was not immediately clear if the ads were related to alleged efforts by Moscow to influence the USA election, and Facebook said it has shared its findings with investigators.

The revelations about ads on the social network can only add to the continuing political skirmishing in Washington over Russia's role in the election.

The ad spending was from June of 2015 to May of 2017 and associated with roughly 3,000 ads.

"Our analysis suggests these accounts and pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation", it said.

The tech firm shut down these accounts and pages and have shared its findings with US authorities.

Facebook conducted a broad review of ads on its platform, looking for ad buys that might have even a loose connection to Russian Federation.

An official familiar with Facebook's internal investigation said the company does not have the ability to determine whether the ads it sold represented any sort of coordination. Most of the ads focused on pumping politically divisive issues such as gun rights and immigration fears, as well as gay rights and racial discrimination. Over the past few months, Stamos said, the company has also taken action to block fake accounts tied to election meddling in France and Germany. The company deemed the pages "inauthentic" and shut them down once it discovered their origins, it said. One search for ads purchased from USA internet addresses set to the Russian language turned up $50,000 worth of spending on 2,200 ads.

Moscow has denied meddling in the USA election, and Mr. Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Russian Federation and has called the investigations a "witch hunt".

"We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform", Stamos wrote in the post. "We believe in protecting the integrity of civic discourse, and require advertisers on our platform to follow both our policies and all applicable laws". Russia's tactics included efforts to hack state election systems; infiltrating and leaking information from party committees and political strategists; and disseminating through social media and other outlets negative stories about Mrs. Clinton and positive ones about the Mr. Trump, the report said.

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