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Facebook omitted references to Russia from a public report about the 2016 election after recommendations from its lawyers, according to a new report.
Quoting “people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal said Facebook decided not to mention Russia in a report published in April 2017.
Earlier this month, Facebook disclosed that 10 million people saw ‘divisive’ political ads purchased by Russia. It was also reported that Russia-linked Facebook ads targeted battleground states narrowly won by President Donald Trump with anti-Muslim propaganda and support for candidates other than Hillary Clinton.
The 13-page report, titled Information Operations and Facebook, was allegedly “shortened” by Facebook’s legal team, reports WSJ‘s Robert McMillan and Shane Harris.
“Some at Facebook pushed to not include a mention of Russia in the report because the company’s understanding of Russian activity was too speculative, according to one of the people,” writes McMillan and Harris.
On WSJ wires: Facebook cut references to Russia from April report on manipulation of its platform in 2016 election amid concern from lawyers
— Paul Vieira (@paulvieira) October 6, 2017
“At the time that we published the white paper we were not in a position to know for sure who was behind the activity that we described and we did not feel comfortable making a definitive attribution,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
Russia was mentioned by Facebook in this newsroom update to the Information Operations and Facebook report on Sept. 6.
Facebook, and Twitter, will testify before Congress about foreign influence on the 2016 election, starting with an open hearing on Nov. 1.