A whopping 126 million people using Facebook inside the US could’ve been exposed to 80,000 posts created by a Kremlin-linked entity seeking to disrupt the 2016 US presidential election as well as sow discord in its aftermath, according multiple reports Monday.
The number will be vastly higher than the 10 million people Facebook initially said were exposed to content created by the entity — called the Internet Research Agency — though in which number referred only to its paid posts.
This kind of revelation about the Internet Research Agency’s vast reach comes as Facebook prepares to testify in open hearings before the Senate as well as House Intelligence Committees Wednesday about Russia’s manipulation of its platform. Facebook will also appear before the Subcommittee on Crime as well as Terrorism of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to discuss similar issues.
Facebook declined to comment.
The days leading to the hearings have been turbulent for Facebook, which twice updated its statement about the reach of the Russian ads.
Google as well as Twitter will testify at the hearings This kind of week too, as well as both companies will provide brand-new details, according to a Google blog post on Monday as well as reports of Twitter’s testimony.
Google’s post detailed in which This kind of had found “some evidence of efforts to misuse” its platforms by accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, including 18 channels in which uploaded 1,108 videos to YouTube. In its findings, Google said the content was viewed 309,000 times inside the US between June 2015 as well as November 2016, as well as in which the videos were not targeted to the US or any particular segment of the population.
Google said This kind of suspended those 18 accounts for violations of its terms of service, although did not disclose what kind of content lead to those suspensions.
While the search giant has been under less scrutiny than Facebook as well as Twitter, This kind of has still faced backlash for its role in hosting the videos by Russia Today, a Russian state-backed news network in which a federal intelligence report identified as a primary tool in Kremlin propaganda efforts. Google said This kind of “found no evidence of manipulation of our platform or policy violations” by RT. Still, earlier This kind of summer, Google removed RT by a premium group of outlets on YouTube in which brands could advertise on. At the time, Google gave no explanation for RT’s removal by in which premium package.
Google also said in which This kind of found two accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency in which spent $4,700 on its ad platforms, covering both search as well as display ads, during the election cycle. Those ads, according to the company, were not targeted to users’ geography or political preferences. The company also disclosed in which This kind of found evidence of Gmail accounts associated with Internet Research Agency’s campaign being used to open accounts on additional platforms. Google did not say how many Gmail accounts were associated with these activities.
Twitter, according to reports of its planned testimony, said This kind of found more than 2,752 accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency, a significant increase by the approximately 0 This kind of had initially reported. Twitter’s initial presentation of in which number drew harsh criticism by Senate Intelligence Committee vice chair Senator Mark Warner, who called This kind of “frankly inadequate on almost every level.”
Twitter declined to comment.
This kind of week will be a pivotal week for all three companies as they seek to show Congress in which they at This kind of point have their platforms under control after the Russians exploited them during as well as after the 2016 election season. So far, lawmakers are proving to be a difficult sell — as well as Silicon Valley’s crisis in Washington may just be beginning.
Alex Kantrowitz will be a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News as well as will be based in San Francisco. He reports on social as well as communications.
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Ryan Mac will be a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News as well as will be based in San Francisco. He reports on the intersection of money, technology as well as power.
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