Russian Federation bought political ads from Facebook during the election, company says

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Facebook said Wednesday an internal review showed that hundreds of Russia-linked fake accounts were used to buy ads aimed at inflaming political tensions ahead of and following the 2016 usa presidential election.

On Wednesday, Facebook spoke to Congress about the findings as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The company said $100,000 (£77,000) was spent on about 3,000 ads over a two-year period, ending in May 2017.

"Our analysis suggests these accounts and pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation".

Beyond the issue ads, Facebook said it uncovered another $50,000 in political advertising that might have a link to Russian Federation. The company was also criticized for not only doing enough to stop the spread of fake news. "Facebook notes that the "vast majority" of the ads it analyzed didn't reference a candidate, voting or the 2016 election specifically; instead, they were meant to "[amplify] divisive social and political messages".

The tech firm also broadly searched for ads that might have ties to Russian Federation.

The ad sales were traced to a "troll farm" with a history of promoting pro-Russia propaganda, The Washington Post reported.

Facebook said it is sharing its findings with United States authorities.

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"Whoever may have provided assistance to Russian Federation in buying these Facebook ads is very likely in violation of the law", he said. Facebook did not say Mr Putin in a blog entry clarifying the advertisement purchases.

"We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform", Stamos said.

In May, Time Magazine reported that US intelligence officials had discovered evidence that Russian agents had purchased ads on Facebook to target specific populations with propaganda.

The Internet Research Agency has received attention in the past for its activity.

In its review of election-related advertising, Facebook said it had also found an additional $50,000 in potential political ad spending from other accounts connected with Russian Federation.

In its unclassified report in January, the US intelligence community concluded that the Internet Research Agency's "likely financier" is a "close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence".

Not all politically-related advertising by foreigners is illegal in America.