Facebook Estimates that 126mn People Saw Russian-backed Content

Facebook estimates that 470 Russian-backed accounts connected to a single pro-Kremlin firm, the Internet Research Agency, produced more than 80,000 posts on the social network between January 2015 and August 2017- reaching approximately 126 million people, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Twitter, meanwhile, has identified and removed 2,752 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, significantly more than the 201 accounts it identified in an initial review last month, The Journal adds. Google also said that it had discovered 1,108 videos uploaded to its YouTube video site, which were viewed a total of 309,000 times in the U.S. from June 2015 to November 2016, by Russian-linked accounts.

The videos encompass 43 hours of content from 18 different English-language accounts, it said. In addition, Google said two accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency spent $4,700 on search and display ads during the 2016 elections.

The disclosures came on the eve of representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google appearing in front of a Senate committee to explain how Russian entities allegedly used their platforms to influence American society, The Journal informs.

Until now, Facebook in particular has focused its disclosures on advertising by the Russian entities, but the new revelations provide greater detail about the extent of Russian-backed attempts to spread social and political divisions in the U.S. through social media.

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