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United States : Senators Collins, Reed Send Letter Urging Facebook to Alert Users Who Were Exposed to Russian-Created Content.

U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) led a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging the social media company to provide direct notice to each Facebook user who inadvertently viewed inauthentic and deceiving content created by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA). Their letter was cosigned by Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), who serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with Senator Collins.

An estimated 150 million Americans were exposed to IRA content on Facebook or Instagram, yet only a small fraction know whether they were deceived by these posts. Moreover, 29 million people were served content in their News Feeds directly from the IRAs 80,000 posts on Facebook Pages it created.

One of the best antidotes to malicious foreign influence operations in the democratic process is to expose those operations to the public, the Senators wrote. While your company announced the creation of a tool in November 2017 that informs users whether they liked or shared IRA-created content, Facebook has not created a similar tool that informs individual users whether they viewed content on an IRA-backed Page or ad. In addition, the Facebook application announced in November 2017 is a self-service tool buried in the Facebook Help Center that users must navigate to purposefully in order to learn that they were deceived.

While we welcome some of the steps Facebook has taken, your company needs to do more. The vast majority of Americans still have no idea if they were one of the users who viewed this troublesome content, the Senators continued. If Facebook is serious about its role in the democratic process, we ask you to provide direct notice to each Facebook user you know that liked, followed, shared, viewed, or could have viewed, the inauthentic IRA content intended to deceive Americans. In addition, we encourage you to make an exception to your inauthentic content policy and make available the inauthentic IRA content in a way to increase public awareness of the foreign threat posed to Americans and the democratic process on Facebook.

In November of 2017, Senator Collins questioned Facebook, Twitter, and Google executives at a Senate Intelligence hearing regarding Russias attempts to exploit social media to influence the 2016 elections and divide Americans.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Mar 3, 2018
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