Zuckerberg's Facebook is coming under attack for letting a Russian company serve ads that more or less had an effect on the 2016 US election outcome.
This Russian company had reportedly served ads to an unsuspecting number of voters in the US 2016 election.
The company according to a Washington Post (WP) report is tied to a Russian propaganda ‘’troll’’ firm, whose aim according to Facebook Chief Security Officer, Alex Stamos, was to post divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum – touching on topics ranging from LGBT rights to race issues, immigration and gun rights.
According to the WP, a number of these ads referenced Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.
Facebook has declined to state who these ads favoured, but with the CIA having already determined to a high degree of confidence that the Russian government was in support of Trump, it wasn’t hard to figure out who the ads were in favour of.
Even more importantly, this development calls to effect the federal US laws which prohibits both foreign nationals and foreign governments from "making contributions or spending money to influence a federal, state or local election in the United States."
The tools Facebook offers to advertisers are incredibly powerful and allow for extremely granular ad targeting. And we know that the Internet Research Agency also known as the Russian troll firm (a group name of Russian fake accounts) took advantage of this. Around a quarter of the approximately 3,000 advertisements in question, which ran from June of 2015 to May of 2017, were targeted geographically.
This doesn’t spell a good look for the image of the social network giant and the future of big data.