1. ITV Report

Facebook reveals Russian accounts bought political ads during US election

Facebook have investigated possible Russian influence in the US presidential campaign. Credit: PA

Facebook have revealed that hundreds of Russian accounts paid for political adverts on the social media platform during the US 2016 presidential election campaign.

The social media platform's investigation discovered $50,000 - roughly 2,200 ads-worth - was spent on adverts that were potentially "politically related".

As well as the politically-related posts, the company had investigated ads that focused on social messages.

In a blog post, Facebook's Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said $100,000 worth of ad spending - which roughly translates as 3,000 adverts - between June of 2015 to May of 2017 - that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and pages in violation of the social media platform's policies.

Many of these ads and accounts appeared to "focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum - touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights," Mr Stamos said.

In response to these figures, said: "Our analysis suggests these accounts and pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.

"We don’t allow inauthentic accounts on Facebook, and as a result, we have since shut down the accounts and pages we identified that were still active."

He said about one-quarter of these ads were geographically targeted and appeared consisted with techniques identified as 'information operations' by Facebook.

Facebook have shared their findings with US authorities investigating the influence Russia may have played in the presidential campaign.