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Facebook will let you see what Russian-linked content you followed

24 November 2017

Under pressure from Congress, Facebook has announced plans to let its users know if they followed or "liked" Russian Federation propaganda accounts on its service or on Instagram.

Creation of the new tool comes in the face of Congressional pressure on Facebook and other internet giants to let users know if they were exposed to Russian propaganda prior to the election.

Facebook has created a tool that will allow users to see if they liked or followed any accounts linked to Russia's "Internet Research Agency" that intentionally spread misinformation leading up to the 2016 USA presidential election.

Over a two-year period around the 2016 election, Facebook said that about 29 million U.S. users directly saw content in their News Feeds produced by the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin's official troll army.

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The Internet Research Agency is a Russia-based firm known for trying to influence public thought on behalf of the Russian government.

Facebook testified before congressional committees earlier this month about Russian ads on its site as part of an investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Facebook's latest attempt at transparency lets users know if they liked or followed any pages related to Russian Federation during the USA election.

"This is part of our ongoing effort to protect our platforms and the people who use them from bad actors who try to undermine our democracy", said Facebook.

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Facebook told Congress that the apparent political meddling included use of its image-sharing application Instagram. But it falls far below what they'd told Facebook to do, which would be to individually notify users about all of the Russian propaganda or ads they had seen. The search would also be limited to the January 2015 - August 2017 timeframe.

Facebook will only be showing people the names of the pages and accounts, not the content.

The tool will show you what you liked on both Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns.

Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, called it a "very positive step" and said lawmakers look forward to additional steps by tech companies to improve transparency. When people like or comment on a post, that post is eligible to show up in any of their friends' news feeds - helping the content go viral.

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Facebook will let you see what Russian-linked content you followed