Alphabet Inc's Google is conducting a broader internal investigation to determine whether Russian-linked entities used its ads or other services to try to manipulate USA voters past year, a person familiar with the probe told The Wall Street Journal.
Most of those ads, which Facebook has provided to Congress to aid its investigations into Russian interference in the election, "appear to focus on divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum", Facebook's Vice President of Policy and Communications Elliot Schrage wrote in a Monday blog post. The company said it sold $100,000 worth of ads to Russian-linked sources investigators believe were trying to sway the results of the 2016 election. In total, over 3,000 ads were linked with the Kremlin-linked group known as the Internet Research Agency.
The focus on MI and Wisconsin also adds more evidence that the Russian group tied to the effort was employing a wide range of tactics potentially aimed at interfering in the election.
The ads have sparked anger toward Facebook and, within the United States, toward Russian Federation since the world's largest social network disclosed their existence last month.
In the middle of September, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the changes in the political ad spending and stressed his intention to hire 250 workers to check the election integrity. Facebook is looking to increase the workforce by another 1000.
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How many people saw them?
In the future, Facebook plans to make it harder for anyone to run ads related to U.S. federal elections, and catch similar ads in real-time.
Facebook said its efforts intend to make it more hard in the future for divisive or counterfeit advertising to circulate, particularly during an election campaign.
This is just the latest evidence of what is being described as Russian use of USA -based technology platforms to target Americans and exploit already divided political and racial factions in American society over the last two years.
Facebook has strict community guidelines and even stricter guidelines for advertisers, which prevents them from posting ads with shocking content, direct threats, and sale or use of weapons. "We permit these messages because we share the values of free speech". However, Facebook said "it may not have uncovered all malicious activity that attempted to interfere in the American political process", The Wall Street Journal reported.