In Brief

Facebook posts backed by Russia reached 126m Americans

Social media giants are set to reveal extent of Russian election interference

Russian-backed social media posts reached a much larger number of users during the 2016 US presidential election than Facebook, Twitter and Google have previously disclosed.

Facebook said such posts were seen by about 126 million Americans, according to prepared testimony for a forthcoming Senate hearing.

“One hundred and twenty fake Russian-backed pages created 80,000 posts that were received by 29 million Americans directly but then amplified to a much bigger potential audience by users sharing, liking and following the posts,” The Guardian says.

Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, said the Russian posts “run counter to Facebook’s mission of building community and everything we stand for” and said the company was “determined to do everything we can to address this new threat”.

Twitter is meanwhile set to announce that it has identified and shut down 2,752 accounts with links to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, along with more than 36,000 bots that tweeted 1.4 million times during the election.

“Twitter’s revised estimate of how many Russia-linked accounts were on its service comes a month after an influential Democratic senator, Mark Warner, slammed it for what he called an insufficient investigation,” Reuters reports.

Google has also revealed it has found evidence that Russian operatives uploaded 1,108 videos with 43 hours of content on 18 different YouTube channels aimed at influencing American voters, as well as $4,700 worth of advertising spending during the election cycle.

Later this week, the three companies will present their findings to a Senate hearing gathering evidence about how Russia used social media to interfere in the 2016 election.

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