Facebook has revealed it's started work on a tool that will let its members learn if they saw ads published by the “Internet Research Agency”, the outfit thought to have been behind mass buys of pro-Kremlin propaganda ads during the 2016 US presidential election.
The Social Network™ has come in for stern criticism for allowing the Agency, which is thought to be State-directed, to buy ads that spread falsehoods thought to have influenced voters. As the presidential election turned on a few tens of thousands of votes, the ads are considered a serious attempt to influence elections.
Facebook stated “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.”
“It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 US election,” said Facebook's statement. “That’s why as we have discovered information, we have continually come forward to share it publicly and have provided it to congressional investigators. And it’s also why we’re building the tool we are announcing today.”
Facebook's billed this forthcoming tool as “part of our ongoing effort to protect our platforms and the people who use them from bad actors who try to undermine our democracy.”
As has now been well-document, the company did not imagine its platform could be used that way before the election. Founder Mark Zuckerberg continues to emphasise his creation's role in fostering “meaningful communities”, but has little to say about his platform's role in fostering hateful communities, or those that exist to discuss and propagate disinformation. ®