Facebook will soon let you know if you're following propaganda pages

Peter Thiel

CREDIT Roger Askew REX Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Facebook announced a new portal that lets users see which Internet Research Agency-linked Facebook pages or Instagram accounts they liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017, when the pages were shut down.

Facebook is among the tech giants that have recently come under fire for their lack of attention on Russian activity on their platform that may have tried to divide the nation and create mistrust during the election of 2016.

In fact, in some instances, the Internet Research Agency even mobilized demonstrators for and against certain causes to take to the streets at the same time in an apparent attempt to sow chaos. "And it's also why we're building the tool we are announcing today".

Facebook's new tool will be limited in its functionality, only showing you whether you've liked or followed the accounts in question, meaning that you won't be able to discern whether you actually saw or shared posts from those pages unless you manually figured it out from memory.

Facebook said the portal is part of its continuing effort to "protect" its platforms and users from "bad actors who try to undermine our democracy".

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Within the last few weeks, the House Intelligence Committee released photos of 3,000 ads during a hearing in which Facebook, Google, and Twitter were testifying before Congress, acknowledging Russian meddling on their platforms.

Together almost 150 million Facebook and Instagram users may have had pieces of Russian disinformation content - both paid ads and free posts - reach their accounts, the company has said, though it also has said there is no way to know how many actually saw that content.

As previously disclosed, these pages and accounts served as a way for Russian Federation to meddle in U.S. election affairs, using the accounts to, in some cases, fuel social issues and more.

The company previously estimated that posts linked to the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which former employees and media reports have identified as a "troll farm" with ties to the Russian government, could have reached as many as 126 million people on Facebook over a two-year period and another 20 million on Instagram.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, called the move a "very positive step" in a statement.

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