Technology

Facebook to investigate Russian interference in Brexit campaign

Facebook is reopening an investigation into potential foreign interference on its platform in the 2016 United Kingdom "Brexit" referendum on leaving the European Union.

In a letter to a member of Parliament on Wednesday, Simon Milner, Facebook's U.K. policy director, said the company would look for "coordinated activity around the Brexit referendum that was not identified previously."

Damian Collins, an MP who chairs a committee on digital companies, had requested that Facebook broaden a previous probe into Russian activity in Ireland during the EU referendum. Milner told Collins on Wednesday that Facebook agreed to his request, and asked that U.K. authorities provide any relevant intelligence information.

"We are committed to making all reasonable efforts to establish whether or not there was coordinated activity similar to that which was found in the US and will report back to you as soon as the work has been completed," Milner wrote.

The news comes a week after Democrats on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report criticizing investigations by Facebook and Twitter into misinformation campaigns aimed at influencing British politics.

The report blasted Facebook for focusing on one organization found to have conducted such a campaign in the U.S. during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

"In limiting their investigation to just the Internet Research Agency, Facebook missed that it is only one troll farm which 'has existed within a larger disinformation ecosystem in St. Petersburg,' including Glavset, an alleged successor of the Internet Research Agency, and the Federal News Agency, a reported propaganda 'media farm,' according to Russian investigative journalists," the report reads.

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