Facebook: Russian-Linked Accounts Spent 97 cents on Ads Over Brexit

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On Wednesday, Facebook said that the Russian-based operatives paid for three adverts on their platform in the run-up to the 2016 referendum on European Union membership of Britain, spending only 97 cents to raise the issue of immigration.

Some British lawmakers have requested for an inquiry into whether Russia interfered in the vote of Britain to leave the European Union after social media platforms said that Russian operatives attempted to interfere in the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

Russia, however, denies interfering in the U.S. election or in Brexit.

Facebook sent the company’s findings to the Electoral Commission which is responsible for examining the impact of digital campaigning in the politics in Britain, including activity that are funded from outside the country.

Facebook said that it had investigated whether any account pages or profiles that are linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) had funded advertisements during the Brexit vote. According to researchers, the IRA, which is a Russian organization, employs hundreds of people to drive pro-Kremlin content on social media.

Facebook stated: “We have determined that these accounts associated with the IRA spent a small amount of money ($0.97) on advertisements that delivered to UK audiences during that time.

“This amount resulted in three advertisements (each of which were also targeted to U.S. audiences and concerned immigration, not the EU referendum) delivering approximately 200 impressions to UK viewers over four days in May 2016.”

Another cross-party British parliamentary committee is also examining whether any Facebook ads were bought by accounts that are Russian-linked around the European Union referendum and the UK election in 2017.

The issue of whether Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential elections last year is the subject of various investigations.

In October, Facebook said that Russia-based operatives published around 80,000 posts on the social network over a period of two years in an attempt to sway politics in the United States and that around126 million Americans may have seen the said posts during that time.

The Electoral Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the running of British elections, said that it would disclose more regarding its findings in due course.