Facebook Plans To Tell Users Which Russian Accounts They Followed

With examples of Russian-created Facebook pages behind him Sen. Patrick Leahy questions witnesses during a Senate hearing on Russian disinformation online on Oct. 31 2017

Facebook Plans To Tell Users Which Russian Accounts They Followed

A list of Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts will appear in a new online portal within Facebook's Help Center and will be available to all users by the end of the year, Facebook announced in a blog post Wednesday. Activity between January 2015 and August 2017 will be tracked in particular, as a part of quashing the reported Russian interference during the 2016 U.S. Election.

Facebook previously revealed that the Internet Research Agency ran a number of fake accounts advocating for a wide variety of causes on both sides of the political spectrum.

Together almost 150 million Facebook and Instagram users may have had pieces of Russian disinformation content - both paid ads and free posts - reach their accounts, the company has said, though it also has said there is no way to know how many actually saw that content.

"It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 U.S. election", a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Richard Blumenthal of CT, as well as Rep. Teri Sewell of Alabama - had pushed Facebook to find a way alert its users about their exposure to Russian disinformation. Numerous fake accounts found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were controlled by the Agency, spreading erroneous information.

However, not all of those users will be able to take advantage of the portal.

As part of its ongoing probe into Russian US election meddling, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have released a "representative sampling" of Facebook and Instagram ads allegedly purchased by Russian trolls during the US presidential campaign season. About 29 million U.S. users saw content in their News Feeds produced by the Internet Research Agency, according to Facebook.

Facebook, Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Twitter Inc. appeared in early November for hours of Congressional testimony to explain how Russian Federation used their platforms to manipulate US citizens. But emphasized that he's still looking for more, including a joint report by the companies "on how Russian Federation used these platforms to sow discord and influence the election".

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