Reports: 126M Facebook users saw content from Russian agents around Election Day

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Facebook is under new scrutiny for facilitating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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Russian government-backed agents created posts that reached about 126 million Facebook users around the Nov. 8 election, according to reports from The New York Times and Recode. For reference, there are roughly 200 million registered voters in America.

That number comes from prepared remarks that Facebook lawyers will deliver to Congress this week in a series of hearings on the role U.S. tech companies played in Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter will testify on ads and other content Russian agents used to foment discord among Americans during the election season before the Senate and House Intelligence committees on Wednesday.

Prepared remarks — shared with Congress and obtained by the media — also reveal that Russian agents uploaded more than 1,000 videos to Google’s YouTube platform. Google plans to confirm that it can link about $ 4,700 worth of additional ads to Russia.

The Facebook content includes ads and organic posts created by users backed by the Russian government to sow discord among U.S. voters on hot-button issues like gun violence and immigration. A group linked with the Kremlin disseminated about 80,000 pieces of divisive content that was shared, eventually reaching 126 million people. That may seem like a striking number, but Facebook plans to show that it is a tiny percentage of the overall content its platform hosts. Google and Twitter plan to employ a similar strategy, according to Recode. 

GeekWire

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