Suspected Russian Connection to US Elections 2016 via Facebook Ads

The social media giant, Facebook has reported this Monday, that during US election campaign 2016, the advertisements publicized on its forum connected to Russian state were visited by a total of about 10 million users.

Adding further to it, Elliot Schrage, the company’s VP on policy and communication stated that about 44% of the total ads were visited prior to the election while the remaining 56% were visited afterward. This information was part of the evidence that was handed over to Congress since the timing of these overwhelming number of ads poses a question of its influence on the presidential elections.

Additionally, he mentioned that most of the ads were focused around topics that would arise social alienation and would address to ideological groups. The topics covered issues such as racism, rights to guns and immigration.

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The information surfaced approximately a month after 500 inauthentic accounts were identified by facebook. These accounts were linked to purchase of ads worth of $100,000, focused on highly sensitive socio-political issues of guns, rights of LGBT and immigration. The information regarding these ads has been forwarded to government agencies who are investigating a possible involvement of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. Although president Trump has consistently denied any involvement in the said issue, however at present the investigation agencies are accessing that how much of these ads would have affected the elections and whether the president or any of his co-worker was part of this.

Schrage also exposed that a few of the ads were paid in Russian currency. However, he further stated that advertisers paying in Russian currency or people accessing Facebook from Russia are not doing anything wrong. It was just used as one of the techniques to isolate potentially sensitive ads.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who previously gave a little weight to the influence the social networking website may have had on the spread of fake news has fortunately taken up the matter seriously and is working towards an effective solution to the said problem. These solutions include a collaboration with the news agencies in order to filter out the fake news and closing down the accounts that are constantly advertising fake news.