18:20 GMT29 November 2020
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    Despite its recently released report claiming that Russia-linked entities allegedly bought $100,000 worth of political ads before and after the US presidential election, Facebook has decided to omit Russia references from its April 2017 white paper covering the influence on the public opinion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Facebook staff were debating on whether to include references to Russia in a public report on "false news" spread via the social network and eventually decided against it, so the white paper issued in April makes no mention of it, according to the Wall Street Journal newspaper.

    Some people working in the company insisted that Russia should not be mentioned in the report on the attempt to influence the US presidential campaign in 2016 as Facebook had no proof of subversive activities, the WSJ reported on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

    The April report said that "malicious actors" were involved in an attempt to compromise certain political targets and to push certain narratives, but stressed that it could not say with any certainty who was sponsoring these activities. Facebook said in April that it would add new technologies to weed out fake accounts and improve security.

    The media report comes after Facebook said in early September that supposedly Russia-linked entities bought $100,000 worth of political ads linked to inauthentic pages in a two-year period up to May of this year. According to the company, these pages were found to be linked and were "likely operated" out of Russia. Most of the ads did not reference the US presidential election, but focused on amplifying divisive social and political messages.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow was not behind the ads or even aware of them.

    According to media reports, the US Senate Intelligence Committee has asked senior managers from Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify in front of the US Congress at a public hearing scheduled for October as part of the probe into Russia's alleged attempts to use social media to influence the election. Russia has faced persistent allegations of having interfered in the 2016 US election, many of them suggesting that an information campaign took place on social media. Russian officials have denied meddling in other states' domestic affairs.


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