After handing over thousands of Russia-linked ads to Congress, Facebook admitted that its platform helped distribute Russian propaganda in thousands of divisive posts that were seen by over 150 million people. These posts were created by a number of fake accounts (whipped up by the Internet Research Agency), and Facebook vowed to come up with solutions to prevent something similar happening in the future. By the end of the year, Facebook will release a new tool that shows users “which Russian propaganda pages or accounts they’ve followed and liked on the social network.”
The tool will alert users what accounts, if any, they followed or liked from January 2015 to August 2017 that were created by the Internet Research Agency. “It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 US election,” Facebook said while announcing the update to their online support system. However, there are some caveats:
Facebook will only be showing people the names of the pages and accounts, not the content. A user will only see what they liked or followed, so if they simply saw IRA content in their news feeds, they won’t be notified.
Facebook’s new practice follows closely on the heels of Google announcing it would “de-rank” Russia Today and Sputnik from its search results in an effort to prevent the Russian-run news agencies from spreading fake news.
Your move, Twitter.