Russia-backed content reached 126 million in US during election
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.