2017/09/06: it casts a new light on Facebook’s “fake news” problem, which looks more sinister if some of the misinformation spread on the platform in the runup to the U.S. election was fueled by Russian-funded ad dollars or troll networks.
Fourth, it suggests that Facebook may have a more widespread oversight problem in its ad sales. As the Post’s story notes, it’s illegal for foreign nationals or governments to buy ads or spend money aimed at influencing a U.S. election. It now seems clear they’ve been using Facebook to do just that.
Finally, while $100,000 amounts to a minuscule fraction of U.S. election spending, it could go a long way in amplifying posts among a targeted audience. Facebook said only about 25 percent of the ads were geographically targeted. But it’s worth remembering that the company has a history of not being forthcoming when it comes to the scale and mechanisms of misinformation on its platform. It’s possible that the activities the company has uncovered and disclosed so far represent only a small part of a larger problem.