Rus­sia-backed con­tent reached 126 mil­lion in US dur­ing elec­tion

Irish Independent - - News - David In­gram

FACE­BOOK says a Rus­sian group posted more than 80,000 times on its ser­vice dur­ing and af­ter the 2016 elec­tion, po­ten­tially reach­ing as many as 126 mil­lion users.

The com­pany plans to dis­close th­ese num­bers to the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee to­day, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the tes­ti­mony.

Twit­ter plans to tell the same com­mit­tee that it has un­cov­ered and shut down 2,752 ac­counts linked to the same group, Rus­sia’s In­ter­net Re­search Agency, which is known for pro­mot­ing pro-Rus­sian gov­ern­ment po­si­tions.

That num­ber is nearly 14 times larger than the num­ber of ac­counts Twit­ter handed over to con­gres­sional com­mit­tees three weeks ago, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

Face­book, Twit­ter and Google will tes­tify at three Capi­tol Hill hear­ings to­day and to­mor­row.

Colin Stretch, Face­book’s gen­eral coun­sel, plans to tell the Ju­di­ciary panel that 120 pages set up by Rus­sia’s In­ter­net Re­search Agency posted the ma­te­rial be­tween Jan­uary 2015 and Au­gust 2017. The com­pany es­ti­mates that roughly 29 mil­lion peo­ple were di­rectly “served” th­ese items in their news feeds from the agency over that time pe­riod. Some of those peo­ple re­ceived the posts be­cause they liked one of the agency’s pages, or be­cause a Face­book friend liked or com­mented on a post. Oth­ers shared the Rus­sia-linked posts, help­ing them spread widely.

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