In a response to the United States Congress in regards to meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Facebook states they will release a tool before the end of 2017 that will allow users to see if content they’ve interacted with (viewed, followed, liked, commented on, or shared) was indeed propaganda from Russian sources. This will also be true for Instagram users who would like an answer to this question.
The tool will essentially show users what accounts or pages are linked to the Internet Research Agency, or IRA, which is the Russian firm responsible for the creation and distribution of manipulative postings that potentially reached up to 150 million users between June 2015 and August 2017.
While the update will not show the users the content that was displayed, it will allow them to see the names of the accounts as well as the community pages. Users also won’t be allowed to see whether the content was a direct posting to Facebook or an ad post that had been paid for.
Just weeks ago Facebook, Google, and Twitter had lawyers appear to give a congressional testimony on how their media platforms may have been used for the misdirection of millions. Each of the companies representatives stated they would do more to protect the U.S. people from this type of malicious content in the future. So far, Facebook is the only company to make this step into transparency.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a senate judiciary committee member, and democrat from Connecticut commented “I hope that Google and Twitter will follow Facebook’s lead,” but according to his offices, the companies have yet to comment.
Quick Facts about Russian Propaganda on Social Media Platforms:
- Facebook content reached an estimated 150 million users
- Facebook claims that an estimated $100,000 was spent by fake news agencies to advertise content on their platform
- Twitter found over 36,000 accounts linked to Russian propaganda
- Automated Twitter posts were estimated to have been seen by up to 288 million users
- Google claimed to have found 18 YouTube channels that attracted over 300,000 views between 2015-2016 in connection to the Russian campaign
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