Facebook planning to show users if they ‘liked’ Russian propaganda

FILE - In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. Facebook has unwittingly allowed groups backed by the Russian government to target users with ads. That’s after it took months to acknowledge its outsized role in influencing the U.S. election by allowing for the spread of fake news. Now it is under siege, facing questions from lawmakers and others seeking to rein in its enormous power and demand more transparency. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says it will show users if they followed or ‘liked’ Russia propaganda accounts on its service or on Instagram.

The company said Wednesday it will launch a portal to let people see which accounts of the Internet Research Agency they followed between January 2015 and August 2017. The tool will be available by the end of the year. But it won’t show users if they merely saw — or even “liked” — posts from those pages.

Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before Congress this month, acknowledging that agents tied to the Russian government used their platforms to try to meddle with the U.S. elections. Facebook has said that as many as 150 million Facebook and Instagram users may have seen ads from the Internet Research Agency.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, called the move a “very positive step” in a statement. But emphasized that he’s still looking for more, including a joint report by the companies “on how Russia used these platforms to sow discord and influence the election.”

The companies were initially dismissive of Russia’s threat, but they all pledged to make improvements amid pressure from lawmakers. Still, Facebook so far hasn’t said it will show people if they were targeted by Russia-paid political advertisements, or even if this is something it is able to do.

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