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Russia’s Facebook ads likely reached tens of millions of Americans

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Russia’s Facebook ads likely reached tens of millions of Americans

While Facebook disclosed that it had sold ads worth of $100,000 to a Russian “troll farm”, the company didn’t show examples of specific advertising or, perhaps most importantly, how widely the campaign reached voters. The Daily Beast estimates that with a deft use of Facebook’s ad targeting tools, the campaign may have reached up to 70 million people in the US.

Meanwhile, calls for regulatory action are only increasing: a column in the Financial Times argues that although Facebook polices and investigates misconduct on the platform itself, the company is too large and powerful to be allowed to do this successfully. 

On both sides of the Atlantic the regulatory pressure is intensifying, and given the company’s power such calls are likely to only intensify. Talking to the Daily Beast, one expert familiar with Facebook’s advertising tools said that the platform’s targeting tool are extremely powerful: “Now, there’s nothing better than Facebook’s data”. 

Furthermore, there is increasing doubt over whether we have seen the full evidence of the Russia-sponsored campaign on Facebook. The Washington Post discusses the many unanswered questions concerning the issue.

Update: The Daily Beast has published some examples of the advertising pushed by the Russian-linked actors on Facebook.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2017-09-11 13:14

Author information

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