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Facebook’s latest move on Russian fake news is too little, too late

Facebook Russian Propaganda

Facebook published a blog post Wednesday outlining its plans to fully explain how Russian agents used its social network to influence the 2016 presidential elections. The cornerstone of its transparency going forwards will be a tool, accessible by the end of the year, that should let users know if they liked or followed a Facebook Page created by a Russian troll farm.

The tool will not, however, inform any of the estimated 140 million users who might’ve seen that content without liking or following a page.

“We will soon be creating a portal to enable people on Facebook to learn which of the Internet Research Agency Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts they may have liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017,” the company wrote. “This tool will be available for use by the end of the year in the Facebook Help Center.”

Facebook continued to try and justify its actions thus far. “It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 US election. That’s why as we have discovered information, we have continually come forward to share it publicly and have provided it to congressional investigators. And it’s also why we’re building the tool we are announcing today.”

The company maintains that technical and privacy reasons prevent it from building a similar tool to inform users if they saw content spread by the Internet Research Agency, a group that the intelligence community has labeled as a Russian operation.