W e like Facebook as a social media vehicle. We like it for this reason: People — family, friends, acquaintances, classmates — can more easily reconnect after relationships are lost by time, moving … other circumstances.
These are just some of the moments in life you see people share on Facebook.
And then there are those people who use this form of social media to spew evil, filth … ugliness.
We try to ignore them.
But we cannot ignore the fact that Faceboook has admitted that hundreds of fake accounts run from Russia spent about $100,000 on advertisements aimed at stirring up divisive issues in America such as gun control and race relations last year.
Although experts say the number of ads is relatively “small,” the disclosure provides a more detailed peek into what investigators believe was a targeted effort by Russians to influence U.S. politics during the campaign, this time through social media.
The 470 accounts appeared to come from a notorious “troll farm,” a St. Petersburg, Russia-based organization known for promoting pro-Russian government positions via fake accounts, according to two people familiar with the investigation.
The people were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss details of the investigation.
In all, the accounts purchased some 3,000 ads between June 2015 and May 2017.
While the ads didn’t specifically reference the election, a candidate or voting, they nevertheless allowed “divisive messages” to be amplified via the social media platform, the company’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said in a statement.
Thank you, Facebook, for turning over your findings to federal authorities investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election.
But no thank you to your neglect and apparent greed in accepting advertising money from Russia for the purpose of spreading fake news.
Can you just imagine if this newspaper or any traditional media outlet would’ve done the same?
What’s the standard?
Why doesn’t Facebook do better?
Why aren’t more people demanding Facebook do better?
Oh, it isn’t easy.
Not a day goes by when this newspaper, for example, doesn’t receive a fraudulent advertising request.
But we police every one of them, and we talk regularly about what to look for.
Facebook has come under intense pressure since the election to curb the flow of false information … the “fake news” outcry that paints too broad of a brush over media in general.
After the election, Facebook updated its advertising policy to say it wouldn’t run spots that are “illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news.”
Come on, Facebook. You must do better.