BUSINESS

Facebook Hints You-Know-Who Tried To Manipulate U.S. Election

04/28/2017 03:04 EDT | Updated 04/28/2017 03:04 EDT

Facebook has issued a security report in which it says it found evidence of a coordinated attempt to manipulate last year’s U.S. election through its platform.

In a white paper issued Thursday, members of Facebook's security team said they found evidence of “malicious actors leveraging conventional and social media … with the intent of harming the reputation of specific political targets.”

Though it said the company is "not in a position to make definitive attribution," it said its data “does not contradict the attribution provided by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence in the report dated January 6, 2017.”

vladimir putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin was accused in a CIA report of attempting to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election last November. A new security report from Facebook says its data "does not contradict" the CIA's conclusions. (Photo: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

That report concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” to damage Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and aid her Republican opponent, Donald Trump.

It also concluded “with high confidence” that Russian military intelligence was actively involved in spreading news of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

“Fake personas were created on Facebook and elsewhere to point to and amplify awareness of this data,” Facebook said in its report, not mentioning the Podesta emails directly.

“Social media accounts and pages were created to amplify news accounts of and direct people to the stolen data. … From there, organic proliferation of the messaging and data through authentic peer groups and networks was inevitable.”

Information had little impact on election: report

But the report also suggests that the “information operations” carried out during the U.S. elections likely had little impact on the outcome.

“The reach of known operations during the U.S. election of 2016 was statistically very small compared to overall engagement on political issues,” the Facebook report stated.

The authors said the social site is taking a "multi-pronged approach" to addressing the issue, including improving its ability to identify fake Facebook accounts; supporting media literacy programs; and "monitoring the efforts of those who try to negatively manipulate civic discourse on Facebook."

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