10 million people saw Russia-linked ads on Facebook

Facebook Inc. estimates that 10 million people saw the advertisements that have been linked to Russian efforts to influence last year’s U.S. presidential election.

About 44 percent of the ads were seen before the Nov. 8 election, Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of policy and communications, wrote Monday in a blog post. About a quarter of the ads were never shown to anyone, since a relevant audience wasn’t found for their content by Facebook’s ad system.

The social media company said earlier Monday that it provided congressional investigators with information on 3,000 ads linked to Russia and would be hiring an extra 1,000 people to review ads that run on its services. The move came two weeks after Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg announced an overhaul to the rules around political ad spending and the hiring of 250 employees to work on election integrity.

Had these measures been in place prior to the election, “we believe we would have caught these malicious actors faster and prevented more improper ads from running,” Schrage wrote in the post. He said that for half the ads, less than $3 was spent, and $1,000 or more was spent on less than 1 percent of the ads.

Now read: Facebook and Google execs to testify on Russian meddling

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10 million people saw Russia-linked ads on Facebook