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Facebook to hire 1000 people to review ads after Russian buys

03 October 2017

"After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a insane idea", Zuckerberg said last week.

Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice president of global policy, wrote in a blog post Monday that the social network is "taking aggressive steps to strengthen" how it reviews ads. Half of the ads cost less than $3, and 99% cost less than $1,000. While the company hasn't shown the ads publicly, there's evidence that they were created to influence voters by promoting polarizing topics.

The company already has given similar material to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian meddling. The ads in question - which ran between June 2015 and May 2017 - are said to have been paid for by a Russian entity known as the "Internet Research Agency" with the apparent intention of fuelling political discord and exacerbating divisiveness, particularly during the presidential election.

And anyone wishing to place a Facebook ad directly related to a USA federal election will be required to confirm their identity first.

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"As we fully examine these ads in the coming days, we will be particularly interested in understanding their full reach, in particular to determine what groups and individuals were most heavily targeted and why", Schiff said.

Senate intelligence chairman Richard Burr said Monday he won't be the one who makes the Russian-linked Facebook election ads public.

The companies have been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee later this month and the Senate's corresponding committee on November 1. The company defended itself from accusations that it should not have permitted the divisive ads, saying it walks a fine political line. A prerequisite for purchasing an ad will be proving the business or organization the advertiser is buying for, said the post from Facebook.

"That's not what we stand for", he said. Last month, Facebook said it would add 250 employees to its team working on election integrity.

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Last week, Twitter reported suspending 22 accounts on its own platform for corresponding to accounts investigated by Facebook.

Facebook has given over 3,000 advertisements to congressional investigators. This is too important an issue to be dismissive.

Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, has come under fire for not doing enough to protect its platform from being misused to spread fake news and other misinformation.

The Senate judiciary committee, which was also receiving the ads from Facebook on Monday, did not respond to requests for comment.

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The information will be presented to congressional investigators that have been studying Russia's meddling in the US election for several months.

Facebook to hire 1000 people to review ads after Russian buys