Facebook says it has discovered a Russian-funded campaign to promote divisive social and political messages on its network.
The company said $100,000 (£77,000) was spent on about 3,000 ads over a two-year period, ending in May 2017.
The ads did not back any political figures specifically, but instead posted on topics including immigration, race and equal rights.
Fake Russian Facebook Accounts Bought $100,000 in Political Ads
Facebook, already at the center of a storm over the role that it played in propagating misleading information during the presidential campaign, disclosed on Wednesday that fake accounts linked to Russia had purchased political ads on the social network last year. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Providing new evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.
Most of the 3,000 ads did not refer to particular candidates but instead focused on divisive social issues such as race, gay rights, gun control and immigration, according to a post on Facebook by Alex Stamos, the company’s chief security officer. The ads, which ran between June 2015 and May 2017, were linked to some 470 fake accounts and pages the company said it had shut down.
Facebook sold ads to fake accounts linked to Russian 'troll factory' during the US election
Facebook says an operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on thousands of ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period, which spanned the 2016 US election.