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Facebook: Russian Content May Have Reached 126 Million

Facebook: Russian Content May Have Reached 126 Million
Former President Barack Obama and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (AP)

By    |   Monday, 30 October 2017 07:02 PM

Facebook is expected to tell Congress on Tuesday that Russian operatives might have reached 126 million users with its propaganda during the 2016 presidential election.

That is far higher than the 10 million users Facebook previously estimated.

The old number reflected the number of people who saw paid advertising paid for by the Russian troll farm operating under the name Internet Research Agency, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The troll farm owned 470 Facebook accounts that bought about 3,000 ads. Those ads reached about 10 million users, Facebook said.

But the accounts also shared free posts as well, which had far greater reach.

Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch is expected to testify on to the Senate Judciary Committee on Tuesday that the Russians posted 80,000 times between 2015 and 2017, NBC News reported.

Those posts reached 29 million users, who then liked, shared and commented on them, further expanding the number of people who saw them. That is the number that could have hit 126 million.

Still, the Post noted, that number is relatively small compared with the total number of posts Facebook users see in their news feeds.

In the years 2015 to 2017, more than 33 trillion stories appeared in feeds.

"Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been served one of their stories at some point during the two-year period," Stretch says in the prepared testimony delivered to the committee Monday. "This equals about four-thousandths of one percent (0.004 percent) of content in News Feed, or approximately 1 out of 23,000 pieces of content."

Google also reported Monday it has found 18 channels in English that came from Russian operatives. They contained 1,108 videos that made up 43 hours of content.

Google also uncovered two accounts linked to the Russians that had spent $4,700 on ads during the election.

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Politics
Russian operatives might have reached 126 million users with its propaganda during the 2016 presidential election, Facebook is expected to tell Congress on Tuesday.
facebook, social media, fake news, congress
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2017-02-30
Monday, 30 October 2017 07:02 PM
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