Facebook, Twitter reportedly pulled down Russia data

Cybersecurity officials and researchers are trying to learn more about how Russian entities might have used social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

But as they try to analyze public social media data, they’re discovering there are plenty of missing pieces to the puzzle.

Twitter deleted data that could be crucial to investigators looking into whether the country meddled in the presidential election, Politico reported, citing anonymous current and former government officials. That’s because the company’s privacy policy requires the tech firm to revise or delete tweets when users do so. And Russian operatives also try to erase any digital traces they might leave behind, the media outlet reported.

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Facebook took down posts and data that a social media analyst pulled together as part of his research into how many people saw ads that appear to be purchased by a Russian entities, The Washington Post reported.

The analyst, Jonathan Albright, said the data suggested that the reach of the Russian-linked ads was at least double than what Facebook reported. The tech firm said the ads reached 10 million people before and after the election.

Facebook claims that the researcher should never had access to that data and the company was correcting a “bug” on a social media analytics tool called CrowdTangle.

In September, Facebook said that 470 fake accounts and pages that appear to be linked to Russian entities ran roughly 3,000 ads from 2015 to 2017.

Citing privacy concerns and federal law, Facebook has mentioned before that it cannot publicly release ads linked to Russian entities.

But it also turned over the content to congressional investigators who have signaled that they will make the ads public.

Russian officials have denied that they used social media to meddle in the U.S. election.

Photos from AP

 
 

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