Facebook took a lot of heat in the wake of the 2016 presidential election for its role in facilitating the spread of fake news. Now, according to a bombshell report from The Washington Post, the site recently discovered that it sold ads to a shady Russian political company during the election.
Representatives from Facebook told congressional investigators this week about the discovery. According to the report, the ads exploited politically sensitive issues like gay marriage, gun control and immigration. All in all, Facebook’s investigation uncovered 3,300 ads and 470 accounts that seemed to originate in Russia.
“There is evidence that some of the accounts are linked to a troll farm in St. Petersburg, referred to as the Internet Research Agency, though we have no way to independently confirm,” a Facebook official told the Post. “Our data policy and federal law limit our ability to share user data and content, so we won’t be releasing any ads.”
This revelation is extremely troubling for many reasons, not the least of which being Facebook’s constant denials that it played a role in influencing the election. It’s good that Facebook admitted the truth to congress, but can everyday users like us trust what the company says?