In a statement Wednesday, Facebook said it discovered about $100,000 of its ad spending came from “inauthentic accounts” that were likely operated out of Russia from June 2015 to May 2017.
The announcement comes after the company reported its findings to congressional investigators, as first reported by The Washington Post.
The $100,000 in question was associated with roughly 3,000 ads and about 470 pages that were all connected and likely operated out of Russia, Facebook said. The company deemed the pages “inauthentic” and shut them down once it discovered their origins, it said.
The ad sales were traced to a “troll farm” with a history of promoting pro-Russia propaganda, The Washington Post reported.
According to the company’s statement, the vast majority of the ads connected to Russia did not directly reference the election, voting or specific candidates. Instead, they focused instead on “divisive” social issues like LGBT subjects, gun rights and immigration—raising questions about the ways this content may have influenced the 2016 presidential election.
Following the election, Facebook released a 13 page statement outlining strategies for fighting fake news on its platform. U.S. intelligence officials have determined the Kremlin used social media and fake news reports to interfere in the election.
"We believe in protecting the integrity of civic discourse, and require advertisers on our platform to follow both our policies and all applicable laws," Facebook said.