Facebook informed lawmakers this week that 126 million Americans may have been affected by content produced by the Russian government-connected troll farm called the Internet Research Agency between June 2015 and August 2017, according to CNN. That figure, which is more than 10 times the number of individuals presented to Russia-connected posts on the site, shows that most US Facebook clients saw Russia-connected posts in the months leading to the election.
The figures are scheduled to be delivered Tuesday by Facebook’s General Counsel, Colin Stretch, at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing. “The foreign interference we saw is reprehensible and outrageous and opened a new battleground for our company, our industry and our society,” the testimony says. “That foreign actors, hiding behind fake accounts, abused our platform and other internet services to try to sow division and discord — and to try to undermine our election process — is an assault on democracy, and it violates all of our values.”
The Russian government has denied any attempts to influence the elections, in which President Donald Trump, a Republican, defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. Stretch said in the declaration that the 80,000 posts from Russia’s Internet Research Agency were minor, equivalent to one out of 23,000 posts. Nevertheless, the posts disregarded Facebook’s rules, and any action using counterfeit records is “counter to Facebook’s mission of building community and everything we stand for. And we are determined to do everything we can to address this new threat,” said Stretch.
Twitter has discovered 2,752 records connected to Russian agents. That number is way up from the 201 records that Twitter declared in September. Google said in an announcement on Monday it had discovered $4,700 in Russia-connected promotion spending amid the 2016 U.S. election cycle, and that it would create a database of election promotions. Administrators from Facebook, Twitter, and Google plan to stand before three congressional boards of trustees this week.