A recent discovery has been brought to light claiming fake Facebook accounts operated from Russia were used to purchase thousands of political advertisements on the social media site during the 2016 US presidential election. The discovery only adds more evidence of the wide-ranging efforts of Russia to influence the US presidential election through a destabilization campaign. Facebook did not specifically mention the president of Russia but implied that it was examining "serious claims" of Russian interference on Facebook.
The post that revealed this information was made by Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos who says the advertisements purchased were geared toward sowing dissent rather than promoting a particular candidate. Mr Stamos wrote that the Russians behind the advertisements sought to augment "divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum" on topics that included guns, immigration and race. A declassified report on Russian election interference says that Russia sought to specifically undercut Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as well as "undermine public faith in the US democratic process." Facebook quickly shut down nearly 500 fake accounts which spent a combined $100,000 to purchase the subverting ads.
Mr. Stamos did not give any indication of who specifically the fake accounts were created by, only their Russian origin. Facebook has been working to limit the reach of click-bait stories through initiatives that no longer accept advertisements from sites that repeatedly post fake news. Mr. Statmos indicated Facebook is aware of the "authenticity of the connections people make on our platform." He went on to say, "We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform."
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