Facebook: Russians likely bought 1,000s of ads during election

SHARE Facebook: Russians likely bought 1,000s of ads during election
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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting with students in Yaroslavl, Russia, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. File Photo. (Alexei Druzhinin, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON — Facebook says it has identified nearly 500 fake accounts, probably run from Russia, that it says spent about $100,000 on ads that amplified politically divisive issues during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said in a statement Wednesday the company discovered the accounts during a review of ad buys. That review was spurred by a broader investigation into Russian interference in the election.

Stamos says the 470 fake accounts and pages didn’t specifically reference the election, a candidate or voting. But he says the 3,000 ads promoted political messages on a range of issues from gun rights to race issues.

The ads were purchased between June 2015 and May 2017.

Facebook says it shared its findings with federal authorities.

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