Facebook and US officials examining Russian origin fake accounts that posted ads on ‘divisive’ topics during election time in the US.
Facebook is back in the news headlines again, but for stuff, it would surely like to be least associated with, that of fake profiles and pages. Almost running synonymous with such reports are allegations of Russian meddling in the US Presidential process. The latest finding revealed a whopping $100,000 spent on ads most of which seems to be linked to Russia, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, Alex Stamos said.
What has also come to light is that no less than 470 fake profiles and pages were used to post such ads, which again is close to 3,000. While Stamos said the fake profile and pages have been removed, a search is on to find out if there are more. The Russian angle is evident in that most of such pages seems to be controlled from within that country while the pages too have been found to be somewhat linked to each other.
Of particular mention must be made of the Russian firm, Internet Research Agency that created most of the accounts. The agency again is known for its dubious methods and practices, such as creating accounts specifically for trolling on online social circles.
The ads again are found to have been posted between June 2015 and May 2017 but were not directly linked to the election process. Rather, those seemed to highlight such issues like race and ethnicity, gun laws, immigration, LGBT and such that somehow has a direct appeal to the people’s emotions. Facebook, however, considers such topics as divisive.
This makes the intention behind such ads amply clear, to feed the unassuming public with topics that can breed hatred, thereby providing an indirect impetus to even violence at times. Also, needless to say, such ads were well in tune with the electoral theme that Trump professed, thereby harming the prospects of Hillary Clinton.
Facebook also said they have shared their findings with officials in the US that are investigating the Russian intervention in the elections as is being alleged. This should also serve as a case study of sorts, the impact that social media can have on the society at large and ways to deal with it.