As the drip, drip, drip of the Facebook-Russia scandal that rocked the 2016 presidential election continues, another damning revelation has emerged: some of the ads were targeted at residents in key battleground states. In a statement, the company said, "Even when we have taken all steps to control abuse, there will be political and social content that will appear on our platform that people will find objectionable, and that we will find objectionable". "That's because advertising auctions are designed so that ads reach people based on relevance, and certain ads may not reach anyone as a result".
Last month, people in Russian Federation supposedly purchased about 3,000 politically diverse ads on the network in the U.S.in the months prior and after the November U.S. presidential election.
To improve its ad monitoring system, Facebook just announced plans to hire 1,000 more ad reviewers.
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 US voters previous year, a person familiar with the probe told The Wall Street Journal. A number of the ads encouraged people to follow Pages on these issues.
The social network also reportedly provided evidence to US special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting an extensive investigation into potential meddling by outside forces. If we assume that only half the users who saw the ads voted while also factoring the fewer ads shown before the election, 1.7% of votes could have been affected by Russian Facebook propaganda.
Facebook will be working with industry leaders and governments worldwide to share information about bad actors on the platform and ensure that they stay off all the other social media platforms too. Some of the ads were purchased with roubles, which is Russian currency, TechCrunch reported.
Reports that Russian Federation purchased Facebook ads and used Twitter bots to influence the 2016 election paints a picture of interference, says a Virginia Tech expert whose research focuses on the intersection of political participation and digital media.
The changes come after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week expressed regret for saying in November that fake news on Facebook influencing the election was a "pretty insane idea". However, they definitely can make it harder, and that's what the company intends to do, notes CNBC.