Russia denies use of Facebook ads in 2016 election

Russia denies use of Facebook ads in 2016 election
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Russia's government on Friday denied using Facebook ads to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, saying in a statement it didn't even know "how to place an advert" on the social media giant.

“We do not know ... how to place an advert on Facebook. We have never done this, and the Russian side has never been involved in it,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Reuters.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Facebook's chief security officer revealed that 470 inauthentic accounts spent roughly $100,000 on ads during last year's election. The accounts have since been suspended.

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Facebook on Thursday agreed to turn over copies and details of roughly 3,000 ads purchased by Russia-linked groups during the 2016 election on its platform to congressional investigators. In a post, Facebook's general counsel Colin Stretch said it was "vitally important" authorities determine the extent of Russian meddling.

“We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election,” Stretch said.

“That is an assessment that can be made only by investigators with access to classified intelligence and information from all relevant companies and industries — and we want to do our part.”

President Trump dismissed the news on Friday as yet another part of the "Russia hoax."

In a video statement on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to the news reports by saying he wouldn't let Facebook's tools be used to "undermine democracy."

“We will continue our investigation into what happened on Facebook in this election. We may find more, and if we do, we will continue to work with the government,” he said.

“I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy,” Zuckerberg added. “That’s not what we stand for.”