Alex Stamos, for Facebook Newsroom
This morning we removed 70 Facebook and 65 Instagram accounts — as well as 138 Facebook Pages — that were controlled by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA). Many of the Pages also ran ads, all of which have been removed. Of the Pages that had content, the vast majority of them (95%) were in Russian — targeted either at people living in Russia or Russian-speakers around the world including from neighboring countries like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
Uncovering this activity took months of work by our team and I wanted to explain why we took this action. Facebook was built for conversation and human connection. It’s why we ask that people using our service be themselves — whether it’s an individual, a business or a nonprofit. Of course this isn’t always possible. Many human rights activists, for example, have to hide their true identities to stay safe. But we’ve worked hard to establish authenticity as a social norm because it’s at the heart of most meaningful connections on Facebook. Read More
Or maybe these users simply weren’t clicking on any of their OTHER facebook/instagram ads.
On a serious note, the fact that the IRA manipulated users during the 2016 U.S Presidential elections is not just alarming, but also draws our attention to the importance of background checks, even on a platform seemingly for entertainment alone.