On Friday, Facebook made available a tool to allow users to see whether they had liked or followed a page linked to Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 US election.
Facebook had promised to make such a tool available in November, after the company revealed in a congressional hearing that more than 140 million people may have been exposed to Russia-linked propaganda during the 2016 election cycle.
During the hearings earlier this year, Facebook released roughly 3,000 ads that it said it had linked to Russian accounts. But it has never released a list of the accounts and pages that it linked to Russia’s efforts.
Facebook told the author he hadn’t followed or liked any pages linked to the Internet Research Agency.
The new tool shows users if they’ve liked or followed any pages on Facebook or Instagram that the company has linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency troll farm. But it does not tell users whether they were shown posts or ads from IRA-linked accounts, or whether the user had engaged with any of those posts or ads.
Facebook did not appear to announce the availability of the tool. For a company famously focused on mobile users, the portal is curiously only available on desktop. A Facebook spokesperson said the company “will make a significant effort to make sure people are aware of the tool’s existence.” The availability of the tool was previously reported by Axios.
Because of the way Facebook operates—where each user sees a customized list of posts and ads—the congressional hearings were the first time most people had seen any of the Russian-linked political ads.
Find out here if you had liked or followed any IRA pages on Facebook or Instagram. If you have, please email email@example.com with more information. (And please include a screenshot.)
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