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Facebook says 126m Americans may have seen Russian ads - way above original reports

Tyrone Stewart

FacebookFacebook has said that Russia published around 80,000 posts on its platform between June 2015 and May 2017 in its bid to influence US politics. More surprisingly, these posts may have reached about 126m Americans.

The latest figures released by Facebook are well in excess of the company’s initial reported reach of the Russian influence – in fact, 1260 per cent more. At the beginning of this month, the social network said the ads had only reached around 10m people. Now, it seems they may have actually reached close to half of the US voting population.

These updated figures are part of Facebook’s written testimony to US lawmakers, obtained by Reuters. The testimony was written ahead of this week’s meetings with US congressional committees to discuss the alleged Russian attempts to spread misinformation and fake news in order to sway the result of the 2016 US presidential election. Facebook will be joined in the hearings by both Twitter and Google.

“These actions run counter to Facebook’s mission of building community and everything we stand for. And we are determined to do everything we can to address this new threat,” said Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, in the testimony.

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