As Americans try to understand exactly how Russia managed to influence the 2016 election, it’s become increasingly clear that the Internet was a major component in spreading misinformation. Facebook received backlash for the role of its newsfeed’s algorithm in facilitating the malicious and intentional dissemination of false information—and now it appears the site was used to push out political ads. The Washington Post reports:
Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that it has discovered it sold ads during the U.S. presidential election to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company’s findings.
Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totaling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, these people said.
This news comes from an internal investigation by the company, which will give more insight into how Russia abused social media to tip the scales in then-candidate Trump’s favor. While $100,000 in ads isn’t much in the grand scheme, this provides more insight into how the power of new media was abused—and the inherent risk of having private companies pick and choose what information we see.