This morning, Facebook turned over to Congress records of the 3,000 ads that it had identified as being linked to the Russian government, providing congressional investigators with further insight into how the enormous platform was used for information warfare last year. Along with the content of those ads, Facebook also turned over data on whom the ads were targeted at, who saw them, and how they were paid for. Sources told the Washington Post that the ads were seen, as the paper put it, “tens of millions of times.”
At the same time, the company says that it will hire more than 1,000 people globally to review ads bought on the service, and as always, is working on nebulous “machine learning” solutions to eventually replace those human eyes. This is in addition to previously announced policy changes that end “dark advertising,” policies that require the disclosure of who paid for the ad, and which require the ad to be visible to everyone. Requirements for buying ads related to federal elections will also become more stringent.
Among the contents of the ads, according to the Post, “are those featuring photos of Hillary Clinton behind what appear to be prison bars,” and “an armed black woman ‘dry firing’ a rifle — pulling the trigger of the weapon without a bullet in the chamber.”