Facebook widens investigation into Russia’s involvement in the Brexit campaign

GIAN EHRENZELLER

Facebook's logo inside the company's chalet at the 47th annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 20 January 2017.

Facebook widens investigation into Russia’s involvement in the Brexit campaign


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In testimony to the UK parliament on Wednesday, Facebook’s chief policy officer in Britain, Simon Milner , committed to widening the scope of the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership.

Addressing the parliamentary committee on digital culture and media, Milner said Facebook will revisit historical data and review allegations of Russian meddling.

Facebook in the UK faces allegations that it became a platform for Russian electoral influence that was similar to the US Presidential campaign in November 2016.

British MPs have suggested that Russia’s FSB intelligence service used social media to influence the political debate.

In December, Facebook said the Kremlin had paid under a single US Dollar for its advertising platform to support the UK’s choice to leave the EU. In the US, Facebook has found over 3,000 adds that link suspected Russian agents with the spread of divisive messages, aiming to polarize the campaign.

Moscow has denied any involvement in either the British Leave campaign or in US President Donald Trump’s surprise election.

Facebook is not the only social media platform to face allegations of becoming an instrument of influence for the Kremlin’s interference campaigns in the US, Britain, Germany, and France. Twitter and YouTube also face similar allegations.

In the May 2017 French Presidential elections, Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts linked to fake news, disinformation, and spam prior to the elections.

 

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