Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Lawmakers Plan to Release Russian-Bought Facebook Ads

Lawmakers Plan to Release Russian-Bought Facebook Ads

A study published on Monday by researchers with the Oxford Internet Institute, which is affiliated with the British university, found that current USA military personnel and veterans were targeted by disinformation campaigns on Twitter and Facebook over the past year by a nexus of pro-Kremlin, Russian-oriented sites, along with conspiracy theorists and European right-wing ideologues.

The investigation is continuing, so there remains a chance that Google may find other ads from Russian-linked accounts, the person said.

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The group will focus its dialogue with Sandberg on Facebook's "diversity tone-deafness", including why the company has no black members of its board of directors, why Facebook allowed communities of to be targeted with its advertising products and who is being held accountable to make sure that such ads don't appear on Facebook in the future.

According to sources at Google, the ads on its various platforms, which include Gmail, YouTube and its Double Click ad network, were not purchased by the same Russian entity that bought the ads on Facebook. Russia's ad purchases on Google were first reported by the Washington Post.

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Google has said it found evidence that Russian operatives exploited its platforms to spread disinformation. A study by the Oxford Internet Institute, which is affiliated with the British Oxford University, found that current and former United States military personal were especially targeted by the Russian disinformation campaigns.

Further complicating the wild cloud of allegations is the involvement of numerous for-profit networks of hoaxers and scammers who have taken advantage of lax online ad policies and the US' high-pressure political situation to drive millions of Americans to knockoff content farms.

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Russia's ad purchases on Google, owned by Alphabet Inc. "We are taking a deeper look to investigate attempts to abuse our systems, working with researchers and other companies, and will provide assistance to ongoing inquiries". Google and Twitter reportedly did not collaborate on the effort, which is supposedly still in its early stages. It also disclosed that the account for the news site RT, which the company linked to the Kremlin, spent $274,100 on its platform in 2016. Both panels plan to grill Facebook - as well as its peers, Google and Twitter - at back-to-back, public hearings on November 1. At the end of September, Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) penned a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking that the company "ensure that discriminatory and tactically divisive ad-targeting is aggressively prevented".

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