UK Orders Facebook to Try Harder in Russia-Brexit Investigation


The end of last year saw Facebook start an investigation into the use of Russia of the social network in order to influence the EU Referendum or what people know as Brexit. The company was not able to discover anything nefarious. However, the House of Commons asked that the company continue its investigation. Facebook has now delivered its findings — again implying no foul play — and officials of the United Kingdom remain unsatisfied with the said conclusion.

Facebook made use of the same investigative measures it did to discover Russian meddling in the presidential election in the United States in 2016, where advertisements that were linked with Russia were strategically placed in an attempt to influence the voting and exploit social divisions. Facebook states that despite reopening its initial investigation, it was not able to find comparable Brexit campaign.

However, The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee (DCMS) of the House of Commons, has requested more information. In a statement, Damian Collins, the committee chair, stated: “I look forward to [Facebook] sharing with us, amongst other information: the exact number of accounts that they have suspended; how they are resourcing their fight against bots; their methodology of how they identify fake accounts; and how they determine what country those accounts come from.” The company has pledged to release this additional information by the 14th of March.

DCMS is taking a hard position across the board, not only with Facebook. Only after requesting Twitter to review its platform for a second time did the network discover evidence regarding Russian meddling. Also, the fresh requests to Facebook come only weeks after the government of the United Kingdom accused Russia, in no uncertain terms, of the NotPetya cyberattack of last summer. The Officials are clearly not leaving any room for error.