Facebook took out Russia references in election meddling paper: report

Facebook took out Russia references in election meddling paper: report
© Getty Images

Facebook removed references to Russia from a 13-page report published in April on election influence, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The social media company's report, which reportedly caused an internal debate over how much information should be revealed on Russia's interference on Facebook, said that "malicious actors" looked to exert their influence on the platform during the election, but it was not determined who was responsible. 

A Facebook spokesperson told the Journal that employees were unaware of Russia's election meddling efforts and were not comfortable with making the accusation. 

“At the time that we published the white paper we were not in a position to know for sure who was behind the activity that we described and we did not feel comfortable making a definitive attribution,” the spokesperson said. 

ADVERTISEMENT

It is unclear from the report when Facebook became aware its platform was being used for election meddling, however the company has publicly acknowledged Russia as a source. 

The development comes after the company announced in September that a Kremlin-linked group known as the Internet Research Agency had purchased $100,000 in political advertisements. Later reports revealed that the ads bought by the Russian group sought to spark social and racial divisions among Americans.

Facebook said on Monday that roughly 10 million users saw the political ads purchased by Russian actors.

Roughly 44 percent of the ads were seen before the election, while 56 percent were seen after, according to the company’s numbers.

The issue has drawn attention from lawmakers on the both sides of the aisle. 

The House and Senate Intelligence committees are set to hold hearings on tech's role in election meddling efforts, with the Senate panel inviting Facebook, Twitter and Google to testify on Nov. 1.

The House panel has not issued formal invitations, but said it would prefer for the companies to be present.