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Brexit: MPs quiz Facebook over Russian-linked ‘fake news’


Brexit: MPs quiz Facebook over Russian-linked 'fake news'

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Image caption Vladimir Putin has denied that Russia interfered in the US elections last year – but questions continue to be raised about alleged meddling in other democratic processes

British MPs have asked Facebook if it has evidence of paid-for activity by accounts linked to Russia at the time of the Brexit referendum.

A letter addressed to Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg also asks about similar activity at the time of this year's general election.

It was written by Damian Collins, chairman of the Digital, Media and Sport Committee.

Facebook said it would respond to the request once it had been reviewed.

"Part of this inquiry will focus on the role of foreign actors abusing platforms such as yours to interfere in the political discourse of other nations," wrote Mr Collins.

He said he wanted to know whether Facebook could provide:

  • examples of adverts bought, and pages set up by Russia-linked accounts
  • information on how these ads and pages were targeted
  • how much money was paid to promote these ads or pages
  • how many times they were viewed

"We have received a letter from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee and will respond once we have had the opportunity to review the request," a spokeswoman for Facebook said.

The committee's inquiry – which was put on hold during the general election earlier this year – aims to explore the impact of fake news.

The closing date for submitting evidence is 7 November.

Russia has consistently denied interfering in the democratic processes of other countries.

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