Facebook’s battle to stamp out fake news from its platform is not over yet. This time, the company has come up with a new tool letting users know if they liked or followed any Russian propaganda pages during the U.S. election. The new Facebook tool will show a list of all the IRA (Internet Research Agency) accounts you followed.
The IRA is a Russian company which promotes the Kremlin’s interests through power operations. Many of the fake accounts found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were influenced by the Agency, spreading invalid information.
Although the social media network initially stated that it wanted to keep itself separate from the content posted on its platform, the results of the 2016 US elections made it unfeasible to avert the issue.
The news comes in following recent revelations that Facebook was involved in Russian election meddling. Also, the company recently revealed to Congress that propaganda had reached over 120Mn people during the 2016 election.
With the new Facebook tool, users will be able to check if they liked or followed any of the pages created by the Russian troll farm. The tool will be available by end of the year in the Facebook Help Center. Facebook writes in a blog post,
“We will soon be creating a portal to enable people on Facebook to learn which of the Internet Research Agency Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts they may have liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017.”
However, this new Facebook tool will not show whether you saw ads or organic posts from the Russian troll accounts. The tool will only show the names of pages and accounts, not the content. In case there’s IRA content in users’ news feed, they will not be notified.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter appeared in early November for hours of congressional testimony to clarify how Russia used the platforms to manipulate the U.S. citizens. The companies vowed to take some steps for preventing anything similar from occurring in the future. They also said that they will search for possibilities of informing users about their revelation.
Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch told Congress that it’s ‘much more challenging’ to reliably tell people if they were exposed to an individual basis. Once people like or comment on a post, that post become eligible to show up in any of their friends’ news feed, making the content viral. The company argued that it can’t say for certain who paid attention to what content.
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