Facebook CEO Mark
Less than 9,000 people saw Russian-linked ads through
Facebook’s Audience Network, which lets marketers deliver
ads to other websites and apps outside of Facebook.
90 online publishers saw revenue from the
Russia-affiliated ads that Facebook delivered.
The revelation highlights how
Russian actors used every part of Facebook’s ad
business to influence public opinion.
Russia-linked operatives looking to sway US politics
purchased Facebook ads that were also shown outside of the social
network, Business Insider has learned.
But unlike the
126 million Americans estimated to have seen Russia-backed
ads on Facebook itself, the number of people who saw
Facebook-delivered ads from Russia-linked actors on other sites
was relatively small.
Roughly 9,000 people saw Russian-affiliated ads purchased
Facebook’s Audience Network tool, which lets
marketers deliver ads to other websites and apps
outside of Facebook. The ads were affiliated with the
Internet Research Agency,
a so-called Russian “troll farm” that Facebook recently
said was behind roughly 80,000 posts shared on its own
platform before and after the election.
Approximately 90 online publishers saw revenue from the
Russia-backed ads that Facebook delivered through its Audience
Network since the beginning of 2016, according to a source
familiar with the matter. The source added that Facebook notified
affected publishers on Tuesday, just minutes before the company’s
top lawyer was scheduled to testify at a hearing on Capitol Hill
about Russia’s meddling with social networks.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the previously unreported reach
of Russia-backed activity on the company’s ad platform
in a statement shared with Business Insider on Tuesday.
“Less than 9,000 people saw one of the ads linked to the Internet
Research Agency through the Audience Network,” the spokesperson
said. “Most impacted publishers saw less than 10 impressions and
the revenue average delivered per publisher was less than $0.10.”
While 9,000 people is a small number compared to the 126 million
people who saw Russian posts on Facebook itself, the revelation
highlights how Russian actors used every part of
Facebook’s ad business to influence public opinion.
announced last week that advertisers running federal
election-related ads in the US would be required to verify
their identity as well as run disclosures on each ad. The company
also said that it would allow people to see the ads a Facebook
business page is currently running.
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