Facebook says Russia-based group paid for political US ads

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SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it had found that an operation likely based in Russia spent US$100,000 (S$134,402) on thousands of US ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period through May.

Facebook said that 3,000 ads and 470 "inauthentic" accounts and pages spread polarising views on topics including immigration, race and gay rights. Another US$50,000 was spent on 2,200 "potentially politically related" ads, likely by Russians, Facebook said.

It revealed the findings in a blog post and said that it was cooperating with federal inquiries into influence operations during the 2016 US presidential election. The disclosure may be the first time a private entity has pointed to receiving Russian money related to US elections, said Mr Brendan Fischer, a programme director at the Campaign Legal Center, and added that Facebook has a legal duty to act if it is aware of similar activity in the future. - REUTERS