Facebook Widens Probe Into Alleged Russian Interference in Brexit

Some have claimed Russia used the social network to influence the EU referendum

Facebook has launched an investigation into claims Russian Federation used the social network to influence the Brexit referendum.

Responding to growing pressure in Europe, Facebook is opening a new probe into Russian interference in Britain's 2016 referendum to leave the European Union.

"Our investigatory team is now looking to see if we can identify other similar clusters engaged in coordinated activity around the Brexit referendum that was not identified previously", Simon Milner, Facebook's policy director for Britain, wrote in a letter to Parliament.

A study by the Oxford Internet Institute concluded there was scarce evidence that the Kremlin had exploited the social media platforms to influence the British vote. "We are committed to making all reasonable efforts to establish whether or not there was coordinated activity similar to that which we found in the USA and will report back to you as soon as the work has been completed", his letter said.

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"They are in the best position to investigate the activities of their platforms", he said. At the same time, the company announced yesterday that they would begin to notify their US users who were exposed to Russian propaganda.

The U.K. government has said it has found no evidence that Russian Federation successfully interfered in its democratic processes, including the Brexit vote, and Russian Federation denies any allegations.

The committee is conducting an inquiry into fake news and misinformation. Governments and intelligence agencies have pressured Facebook, Twitter and Google to investigate meddling that has already occurred and asked them to ensure it will be prevented in future. Facebook told USA lawmakers a year ago that it had found 3,000 ads bought by suspected Russian agents posing as Americans and seeking to spread divisive messages in the United States about race, immigration and other political topics.

Collins added in his statement: "I look forward to seeing the results of this investigation, and I'm sure we will want to question Facebook about this when we know the outcome".

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