Facebook allows users to view past interaction with Kremlin-linked content

Facebook allows users to view past interaction with Kremlin-linked content
© Greg Nash

Facebook on Friday released a tool that allows users to see what Russian propaganda content they may have liked or followed on Facebook and Instagram.

The feature was created following a push from lawmakers, such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who sent a letter to the social media firm asking for more clarity on the impact Russian meddling efforts may have had on users.

“I appreciate Facebook’s stated commitment to addressing this pernicious problem, but much more is necessary to protect against the kind of destructive disinformation campaign Russia mounted during the last election,” Blumenthal said in a statement emailed to The Hill on Friday.

“While I am hopeful Facebook will take even more robust steps to increase transparency in the future, they deserve recognition as the only major tech company that provided a substantive response to my request so far.

Facebook and Instagram users can access the tool at Facebook.com/ActionPlan.

Russian use of Facebook and other platforms like Twitter and YouTube to interfere in the 2016 elections has drawn close scrutiny from lawmakers, who at the beginning of November grilled the firms’ top lawyers during a public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

“Do you not also have an obligation to let those folks know that that was a hoax, that — or at least inform them who was behind that sponsored advertisement,” Rep. Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellRep. Terri Sewell declines to run for Senate in Alabama Amazon union battle comes to Washington GOP leader to try to force Swalwell off panel MORE (D-Ala.) asked Facebook's general counsel Colin Stretch during the November House hearing.

To date, most of the known content was created by the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked group that used social media to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As many as 150 million users on Facebook and Instagram may have seen such Russian content aimed at deepening racial and social divisions between Americans around the time of the election.

-Updated 5:44 p.m.