Facebook to continue search for signs of Russian interference in Brexit

Who is to blame

Who is to blame

The social media site told the Government's fake news inquiry it will search for "clusters engaged in coordinated activity around the Brexit referendum" which appear to have originated in Russian Federation.

In response to a request from a committee of United Kingdom lawmakers, Facebook said it was looking to see whether there were coordinated attempts at interference that it hadn't previously identified.

Facebook is set to widen its search for evidence of Russia's alleged interference in Britain's European Union referendum.

"It is right that companies like Facebook should initiate their own research into issues like this where there is such clear public concern, and not just act on intelligence that has been passed to them", Mr Collins, who leads the committee's fake news inquiry, said in a statement.

His committee in October asked Facebook, Twitter Inc. and other internet companies to provide information about how the Russian government used social media accounts to influence the Brexit vote and the 2017 election.

In evidence handed over to the Electoral Commission, Facebook said no more than 200 people were reached by the ads which were paid for by accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency.

From the archive: Ian Ridley interviews Cyrille Regis
The trio became known as the "Three Degrees" and were frequently the targets of racist abuse and chants. Regis was awarded an MBE in 2008.

Facebook's new search in Britain will require the company's security experts to go back and analyze historical data.

Mr Collins said the company had only studied interference by one organisation, the Russian-backed Internet Research Agency, that Facebook had previously fingered as being responsible for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

"We would like to carry out this work promptly and estimate it will take a number of weeks to complete", Milner wrote.

Yesterday (January 17) the social media giant informed the Government of its further research, according to CNN.

Facebook is not the only social media platform to face allegations of becoming an instrument of influence for the Kremlin's interference campaigns in the US, Britain, Germany, and France. "I'm sure we will want to question Facebook about this when we know the outcome".

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