Technology, Top News

20m Instagram users also saw Russian propaganda posts, Facebook tells Senate

FACEBOOK HAS confirmed that up to 20 million Americans may have been subjected to as many as 120,000 Russian propaganda posts on Instagram.

That’s on top of the 126m citizens estimated to have been subjected to similar posts on parent network Facebook.

The figures break down as 16m users since October 2016, plus a further possible 4m before that date, though that figure isn’t quite as solid.

So that’s 146 million people out of 323 million. That’s over 45 percent… allow for the overlap and we’re still at over 40 percent. That’s the sort of figures that could, well, swing an election.

The news comes on the first day of a Senate hearing attended by the representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter as the case against the internet giants and their use as a tool in alleged Russian posts, which took the form of Donald Trump’s beloved ‘Fake News’ much spread via bots, designed to subtly sway the minds of voters.

Much of it came from a body calling itself the Internet Research Agency, which was in fact, said to be a front for an elaborate web of internet posters operating for up to two years before the election.

Some content was paid for, others, the more insidious were “organic” posts created to look like shares of genuine new stories. These “malicious actors” represent only a tiny fraction (Facebook puts it at 0.004 percent) of its output but as the company said yesterday, any is too much.

Senator Al Franken asked of Facebook’s Colin Stretch yesterday, “You put billions of data points together all the time. You can’t put together rubles with a political ad?”

Later Senator John Kennedy added, “You got 5 million advertisers, and you’re going to tell me you’re able to trace the origin of all those?”

His bon mot on the subject:

“Your power scares me” µ

Source : Inquirer

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