Facebook Has Updated Its Number of Accounts Hit by Russian Trolls – Again

Pro-Kremlin ads were pushed to 20 million Instagram users, too

Another day, another Facebook update on how many accounts were exposed to Russian propaganda during the 2016 U.S. election.

The social network told congressional investigators on Wednesday pro-Kremlin trolls targeted 146 million accounts across its platforms — an increase of 20 million from its previous estimate.

Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch told the Senate Intelligence Committee the additional 20 million stemmed from Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app owned by the company. Stretch left the door open to the figure being amended, saying its Instagram data “is not as complete” as its revue of posts on Facebook.

The Putin-backed Internet Research Agency harnessed Facebook and Instagram to touch on “hot button” issues before and after the 2016 election, including immigration and race relations. In another meeting with Congress on Tuesday, Stretch had said 80,000 posts were created by the IRA; Stretch added it represented a “small amount” of content in the News Feed, about 0.04 percent, but “any amount is too much.”

This was a stark jump from what Facebook had initially reported — with the company turning over 3,000 Russian ads in September.

To counteract fake news moving forward, Facebook said its beefing up its ad team from 10,000 to 20,000 reviewers, and incorporating artificial intelligence tools to track down shady posts. Last week, the company announced it’ll start adding “paid for by” tags to its political ads ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.