Facebook says Russian influence campaign targeted left-wing voters in US, UK

Facebook said on Tuesday that a Russian influence operation posed as an independent news outlet to target left-wing voters in the United States and Britain.

The social media giant added that the operation centered around a pseudo media organisation called Peace Data and included recruiting freelance journalists to write about domestic politics. On its website, Peace Data says it is a non-profit news organisation seeking “the truth about key world events”. However, the investigation found that the three permanent staff listed online are not real.

On Monday, Facebook said it suspended the accounts before they gathered a large online following.

The company also said its investigation “found links to individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency”, a St Petersburg-based company which US intelligence officials say was central to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

According to investigators, Peace Data targeted left-wing groups in the US and Britain, and “paid particular attention to racial and political tensions”, including civil rights protests and criticism of US president Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

Russia has repeatedly denied US allegations of interference in other countries’ elections.

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