Facebook: how to know if you have consulted Russian propaganda

Accused of having served as a platform for political manipulation during the US presidential election, Facebook is developing a tool to identify the different accounts created by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian intelligence-related company. The tool should be available by the end of the year.

Facebook promises more transparency. The social network of 2 billion users announced on Wednesday that it would allow its users to determine whether they had been exposed to interferences content attributed to Russia during the 2016 US presidential election. Mark Zuckerberg’s business is accused of serving as a platform for political manipulation during the White House race.

A new tool will be launched by the end of the year, promised the social network, to know if we “liked” or “followed”, between January 2015 and August 2016, pages or accounts of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian intelligence-related society. The latter is suspected of having published thousands of propaganda messages through 290 Facebook and Instagram accounts.

“It’s important that people understand how foreign players have tried to sow division and mistrust by using Facebook before and after the 2016 US election,” the social network wrote on his blog on Wednesday.
About 126 million Facebook users have seen content created by Russian operators to influence the presidential election, said Facebook’s legal director Colin Stretch during a parliamentary hearing in early November devoted to the role of social networks in the campaign . But this tool has several biases.

Google and Twitter also concerned
If the company does not go into details, the tool should only allow to identify the different accounts. Consequence: the information process is based on the curiosity of the user who will have to consult the page from the “support center” of Facebook. Secondly, only a “fraction” of affected Internet users will be informed, according to the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, it would be too difficult to determine all users affected by the problem because the social network can not identify with certainty the people affected, according to a spokesman for the company. Indeed, Internet users may have been indirectly exposed to Russian propaganda displayed in their news feed if one of their contacts “liked” or “followed” a publication.

The creation of this new tool comes as Facebook, Google and Twitter were singled out in early November by the US Congress, for allowing the distribution of content posted by Russian interests and for being slow to react to this issue. campaign of influence. Before Congress, Google acknowledged that 1,108 YouTube videos would be linked to Russian propaganda, viewed approximately 309,000 times. For its part, Twitter has counted 36,746 “bots” having tweeted during the election, seen about 288 million times.

These internet giants joined several media earlier this month in the “Trust Project” initiative, aimed at identifying sources of reliable information, the latest project to combat the phenomenon of “fake news”.

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